Minneapolis Bridge Collapse
Minneapolis Bridge Collapse Victim Lawsuits
Minneapolis Bridge Collapse | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Injury, Deaths | Fires, Victims, Bridge Collapse, Structurally Deficient, Under Construction
A bridge collapsed on August 1, 2007 in Minneapolis. The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of being repaired and had several lanes closed when it crumbled. The Minneapolis bridge collapse sent dozens of cars and possibly hundreds of people into the Mississippi River. The bridge collapse took place at 6:05 pm, during evening rush hour. Many of those on the bridge were heading to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for a Minnesota Twins baseball game. While it was not immediately clear how many people might be involved in the disaster, witnesses reported that there were between 50 and 100 vehicles on the Minneapolis bridge when it collapsed.
Television video reports showed a portion of the Minneapolis bridge in the middle of the river, with dazed commuters stranded on the section of Interstate 35 West bridge that was not submerged. Rescue workers were using boats to bring people ashore, and divers were searching the water for victims. At least one truck was on fire, and the scene was strewn with blocks of concrete and torn metal.
Commuters on the Minneapolis bridge had absolutely no warning prior to its collapse. Tapes from a security camera were obtained by one television network and showed the north end of the bridge falling first, followed by the southern end. The center of the bridge was in the water in less than four seconds.
Minneapolis Bridge was found "Structurally Deficient"
The Minneapolis bridge was built in 1967, and had last been inspected by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) in 2005. According to the US Department of Transportation’s Bridge Inventory database, that inspection found the bridge “structurally deficient”, and the report recommended that it be scheduled for replacement. The Minneapolis Interstate 35W Bridge received a score of 50 in the evaluation, which means that a bridge might need to be replaced. A 2001 report by the Minnesota University Center for Transportation Studies that evaluated the bridge’s trusses found evidence of many “poor fatigue details”. At that time, the 2001 report concluded that the Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis was not in danger of fatigue cracking, but it did recommend that the trusses be inspected every two years. The 2001 report also said that certain high stress areas should be inspected every six months. During a news conference the night of the collapse, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had said that the Interstate 35W Bridge had been inspected in 2005 and 2006, but that no structural deficiencies were found.
The Interstate 35W bridge that collapsed was under construction and had an MNDOT crew working on it at the time of the collapse. MNDOT maintained that the construction was “cosmetic” and consisted of resurfacing, and lighting and guardrail replacement. At the time of the collapse, only two lanes were open on the bridge with bumper to bumper traffic jammed on the span. Witnesses said they herd jackhammers in operation just before the Minneapolis bridge collapsed into a twisted pile of metal and concrete into the Mississippi River seriously injuring many people and possibly killing dozens more.
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