LLR Pages

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Collapses Into Mississippi River

An eight-lane highway interstate bridge, which was jammed with rush hour traffic, collapsed into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Here's an excerpt of the incident from the Washington Post today:

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 1 -- An eight-lane highway bridge clogged with rush-hour traffic buckled and collapsed into the Mississippi River in central Minneapolis on Wednesday evening, pitching numerous vehicles into the roiling water below. At least seven people were killed and dozens were injured, authorities said.

Emergency officials said the toll could rise as rescuers, hampered by burning cars and hunks of broken roadway, scoured the debris-clogged river for survivors. The Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper reported that 20 people were still missing late Wednesday night, and that officials said efforts had switched from rescue to recovery.

"This is a catastrophe of historic proportions for Minnesota," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R). "We are doing everything we can to make sure we respond as quickly as we can to this emergency."

It was not immediately clear what caused the Interstate 35W bridge to break apart. Pawlenty said the structure had been undergoing "cosmetic" repairs, including resurfacing and guardrail and lighting replacement.

Witnesses described a lamppost-shaking rumble at 6:05 p.m. Central time as the concrete-and-steel structure rippled from south to north and then broke apart, its 458-foot-long central section plunging from more than 60 feet into the greenish water.

As massive swaths of concrete sheared off, vehicles on the bridge fell. Some of them plunged into the water, while others, including a school bus, came to rest on slanted sections of pavement at the clifflike edge of the r oadway. Several of the vehicles caught fire and one tractor-trailer was cut in half.

At least one person drowned. Rescue officials said many of the survivors were seriously wounded.

And the kicker is: the government operates, controls, funds the maintenance of, and owns bridges like this one. Are we to be really surprised that, if there is no private property rights on our roads and our bridges and that only the "public" owns these roads, that these bridges like the one in Minneapolis are falling apart at the seams?