I-35W Bridge Collapse
Shortly after 6:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, the section of the Interstate 35W bridge between Washington Avenue South and University Avenue Southeast collapsed. One drowning fatality has been confirmed thusfar, though Rueters reports a total of four now, with an unknown amount of additional bodies recovered thursday morning. At least 60 people were injured. Reuters reports more than 20 people missing, with the New York Times and the BBC staking that number as high as 30.
Rescue efforts have been slowed by safety concerns. Divers and rescue boats were forced to halt their activities at nightfall due to the mass of submerged metal debris. The bridge was 40 years old, and had been listed as being structurally deficient in a federal government report. Inspections of the bridge by the University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Department concluded that the bridge was not an imminent threat. Governor Pawlenty said that the bridge was slated for replacement in 2020.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning on lowering the water level by two feet to help with rescue efforts. President Bush also extended condolences to victims and families, and authorized a $5 million dollar federal grant to aid in the rescue, recovery, clean-up and repair efforts. Senators Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar said that they would seek upwards of $100 million to rebuild the bridge and would a lift on the limit of federal funds available for aid.
The New York Times Coverage can be found at the following:
Reuters' coverage can be found here:
The BBC Story can be found here:
The Star Tribune at the following:
The Pioneer Press here: