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September 18, 2008

35w bridge

I have mixed emotions about the opening of the 35w bridge today. I feel happy that it is up and a major freeway in our city is no longer dead ended. Downtown Minneapolis was never really disconnected from the rest of the Twin Cities because of the bridge collapse, but it did force people to get to and from it using different routes.

But I'm not completely happy. I know it is a new bridge, designed to last 100 years, with state of the art sensors and technology none of us really understand, but part of me is sad about it being open already. It almost feels like we didn't get a chance to really morn the falling of the last bridge. Yes it was discussed, it was on the media endlessly for weeks, even my daughter of 2 (at the time) knew about it and asked questions about why bridges fall. But a little over one year later it is over.. traffic can once again fly over the bridge into the heart of Minneapolis.

I tried to get a glimps of it today, part of my healing I guess. When the last one fell people crowded sidewalks to get a glimps of it, they walked along the rivers edge (like I did today) pausing occasionally thinking that they might be able to see something. I was expecting those crowds to come back out today to see what they could of this new bridge, but they weren't there. Is it because I am not the only one feeling like it is too soon or is it because it's just not that special of an event?

A year ago I made a poster to help raise money for the bridge victims. Someday soon I will try to make a companion for it, one that remembers what happened the evening of August 1, 2007.

I also look forward to getting an opportunity to pay homage to the memorials for the people who lost their lives to the collapse of the last one. The new bridge is a memorial in and of itself. To some extent I feel there should be something for the survivors and the heros as well. Maybe there is. I hope there is.

I wasn't on the bridge when it fell and no one I knew was. It didn't even change my commute. But every time I drive over a bridge (which is a lot in the twin cities) I remember.