I have been looking up research on the collapsed bridge. The 35W bridge over the Mississippi is designated as bridge Unless I am mis-reading the information, the 35W bridge over the Minnesota river is one of the fracture critical bridges built in the same manner as the 35W bridge over the Mississippi that collapsed. Please inform me if I am. Look at the paraphrased quote [ 1] below.
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Infrastructure included. Months before the fifth busiest bridge in Minnesota tumbled into the Mississippi River, I saw the fragile and duct-tape useless condition of dozens of bridges in the Twin Cities. The tricky part: Getting my television bosses to listen. No one cares about bad bridges, aging sewer systems, neglected roads, sunken pot holes, until the boom happens. An upstanding bridge collapsed like an accordion on August 1, , killing 13 people, injuring This is my backstory behind the IW bridge disaster, something few reporters would dare write about.
Ended my chase for sensational, promotable stories like dirty public bathrooms, germ-infected hotel water glasses. Made me hunt for meaningful and serious issues. Turn down the volume on the big bang the exclusive video, the outrage, the winning game in TV news. Reliable voices wanted to be heard. The photographer turned on the camera. I listened. There were no other reporters. In our search for bad bridges, my photojournalist partner, Troy, and I took in scenery only small towns hold.
I could live out here, easily. But I am way too much of a city girl for all this farm land. Our game plan: shoot all the bridges first, interviews last.
En route to southern Minnesota, we passed a couple of storybook downtown districts with historic Main Streets. Old fashioned storefronts. Hay stacks. Horses roaming free on the well-fed interstate grass. Old American territory—s flashback. Thirty minutes in or so, not one department store chain, nor bridge did we see.
How do I explain a story about bridges without a bridge? I had pitched every defense line I could. People would want to know if the bridge they were driving over was caving in.
The news business has to pay bills too. My previous investigation on dishonest parking lots pushed the newscast ratings to the top, appealing to the most sought-after demographic market for advertisers. Finally, after months of pleading, I got the green light on the bridge story. It came with limitations, though. The Promotions Department wanted collapsing bridges. Minus any boom, a solid news story affecting every motorist and passenger in Minneapolis was buried in the newscast.
During our small-town hike over several bridge crossings, Troy and I videotaped plenty. Bridges shook when cars went across. Missing pieces resembled broken logs floating in small ponds. Fallen concrete. Hazardous conditions. Troy shot pictures of the deteriorating bridges from different angles. His mic stayed on, picking up the sounds surrounding every hurting span.
Traffic, birds, car horns. The gusting wind brushing off tiny lakes. Big city television viewers could see and hear the scenery. No such exclusive happened. Nothing gotcha, no undercover gem. Real news and good TV has to be pursued. A lesson the 35W taught me. Before the control room cued our story, the first picture on television sets in the thousands of homes watching that night was a full-blown colorful banner placed on every investigative story.
A plain, free-flowing mix of bright orange and red colors. It read: Cross With Caution. Our story was told one year before the death of bridge , the official name for the 35W. Flowers are still in bloom. The lakes and rivers are gently flowing in southeast Minnesota.
But now they are too fragile, too narrow. We talk to county highway engineers in Winona, Fillmore, Mower. The majority are in rural counties and townships, where engineers are now seriously thinking of closing bridges too expensive to repair. Too costly to replace.
David Rholl is the county engineer in Winona. He shows us this bridge on Highway The concrete is falling off. Concrete is missing. It is nothing compared to this bridge. Which has no guard rails. This one, and this one, are showing cracks.
Hanson says repairs need to be made soon. Yet they are allowed on county bridges. And farmers sneak heavy equipment across bridges barely strong enough for two pickup trucks. His county alone has bridges that are deficient or obsolete. Or do not meet modern standards. But are still in use. The bridge moves. With or without cars. This bridge is almost years old. Two poles are keeping the bridge from falling. If either one of them fails, the bridge collapses.
Older bridges are simply starting to show their age. Closing a bridge is a last option. Instead, the engineers we talked to, say counties take the band-aid approach. But the st may not make it and it may go without warning. Last year, 87 counties had to split 40 million dollars in bond money.
Another source of revenue is the gas tax. The last increase was three cents in And the governor said NO to an increase that lawmakers okayed last year. Bridges are routinely inspected.
The problem is there are so many getting old at the same time. The state fixes one. Another deficient one takes its place. While no one wants to point the blame, limited funding is now the reality. Jacqueline McLean reporting. Investigative units are forced to come out of their fox holes four times a year after weeks of digging up stories that should support why they are deserving of these diva reporting jobs—similar to sitting on a velvet chair perched on top of the Empire State building—cushy and an enviable view—yet can tip over at any second.
Mine swayed when the 35W ripped like paper. The lack of a thorough investigation was a disservice to journalism, viewers, and quite possibly, public safety. I was assigned to more tantalizing, but weaker stories. Holding government accountable should always take priority. The 35W was too well-traveled, too important not to dig deeper. There is power in investigative reporting. Who knows if covering it fully would have made a difference?
I finally obtained the 35W inspection papers the day after the collapse. I asked an engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas to look them over and explain how an interstate bridge could drown.
Helicopter and airboat on the 10th Avenue Bridge Recovery of deceased victims took over three weeks. The FBI teams had planned to search with an unmanned submarine, but had to abandon this plan after they found it was too big to maneuver in the debris field and cloudy water. Minneapolis Police Captain Mike Martin stated that, "The public safety divers are trained up to a level where they can kind of pick the low-hanging fruit. They were able to remove some of those.
I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge
The replacement of the collapsed IW Mississippi River bridge crosses the Mississippi River at the same location as the original bridge, and carries north—south traffic on IW. The north foundation pier of the bridge was near a hydroelectric plant that was razed in Archived from the original on November 13, Had this concentration not occurred, the collapse may have been prevented. M6 I Ballarini, Roberto, and Taichiro We can add more detail in between the causes. Remember, gusset plates are joints that support other parts. The decreased life was due to rebar corrosion from the rebar interacting with road chemicals. Before the game, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the collapse.