Last night a major bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, the span of Interstate 35W which goes from downtown from points north. It’s been on the news, so I want to reassure everyone that we’re all fine. I don’t know of anyone who was on the bridge at the time, though I know a few people who crossed it minutes before it collapsed. My family crosses the span only a few times a year.
There were about 60 vehicles on the bridge at the time, including trucks and a school bus. (All the kids evacuated safely, with a few minor injuries.) There was road resurfacing going on, so the highway was down to two lanes in each direction with stop-and-go traffic. The latest report I’ve heard is 4 dead, 79 injured, and 20 missing. But the whole city is in shock, because everyone knows somebody who crosses that bridge, and anyone could have been crossing the bridge.
I’m not sure what will happen in terms of traffic. You can’t replace an 8-lane bridge overnight, and all of the bridges are heavily used for miles in each direction.
The apartment where I lived in grad school was about 500 feet from the bridge in question, as you can see here. The image shows two parallel bridges, one a 4-lane city street, the other an 8-lane highway. The highway collapsed. My old apartment is at the southeast corner of the 4-lane bridge, but it’s hard to make out because the border between the images cut straight through the middle of the building; its shadow and tennis courts are clearly visible, but if you zoom in you’ll see one ghostly tower swaying northeast across another ghostly tower swaying southwest. (It will be interesting to look at that image for years to come to see how soon Google updates the images. If you look upstream, you won’t find the new Guthrie building, but you will see the tents where Cirque du Soleil was many years ago.)