Pharyngula

Yikes!

i-1cef5d92f2a994fdf191825676831314-bridge_collapse.jpg

I was nowhere near this disaster—I’m on the other side of the state—but I’ve been over this bridge lots of times when I travel from Morris to the Twin Cities campus; now it has suddenly collapsed during rush hour, killing at least half a dozen and injuring many more. I’m shocked. There wasn’t any obvious cause, just boom, it fell apart.


An in-person account by someone living right by the bridge, with photos, is available.

Comments

  1. #1 MAJeff
    August 1, 2007

    I was at a movie, and when I got out, called Dad to complain about Kevin McHale, and he told me this happened. I was nearly running to get home and get to the STrib and WCCO et. al. websites. It’s been dominating the local news here in Boston, although they have no idea who Mayor Rybak is.

    I’m waiting for the 11:00 news on Channel 4, when Ken Barlow comes on.

    Best wishes to those in the Twin Cities. I hope the fatalities remain near the 6 currently being reported.

    (This is also going to make the wretched traffic situation in the Twin Cities worse for a couple years.)

    I miss home right now.
    former Minneapolitan.

  2. #2 MAJeff
    August 1, 2007

    Oh, yeah. KG threw out the first pitch at Fenway tonight (fucking McHale)

  3. #3 MAJeff
    August 2, 2007

    9 confirmed dead as of 12:15 central (from the STrib).

    I know it’s irrational, but don’t really care. Mpls is still home to me, and my city is hurting tonight.

  4. #4 MAJeff
    August 2, 2007

    thanks for disemvoweling philos….he was pretty vile.

  5. #5 MAJeff
    August 2, 2007

    Steve,

    Glad to hear your friend’s daughter is safe. Got an email from my sister this morning that all her friends are safe too (she’s glad she was house sitting in the area last week instead of this).

    Best wishes all.

  6. #6 MAJeff
    August 2, 2007

    Nick Coleman lays it out pretty well today, I think.

  7. #7 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 2, 2007

    I too am sorry for the losses.

    The weaknesses in our national and state infrastructure have long been identified. Maintenance and repair have also as long been deferred. We have had other priorities.

    To give a foreign perspective from a nation without tropical cyclones and large tornadoes (too far north) and earth quakes (too old plate; I doubt that we have historically experienced trembles at 3 or above on the Richter scale):

    Apparently we have very few bridges with this box design because they are considered too flimsy for most purposes – not rigid and sturdy enough. (And after the accident was published, experts rushed in to claim that those odd bridges are of an improved design, whatever that means.)

    That doesn’t sound good for the US bridges, so I hope this changes. I hear the political will for changes is low due to the thankfully rare occurrences of failure, so remedying construction requirements for new bridges could be the simplest start.

  8. #8 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 2, 2007

    Sean:

    Memories of an old Asimov (I think) short story

    Yes, The Feeling of Power, published at least in Robot Dreams (©right; 1986).

    The twist is that the future breed of military recognizes that computers have limitations, so replacing intercontinental ballistic missile controls with men that can recalculate course changes would be an advantage over the enemy. Except for the man in the missile.

    [Btw, one of Asimov's worst stories IMHO - too much suspension of disbelief, twice over.]

  9. #9 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    August 3, 2007

    windy:

    Actually there’s one of those every year, and the strongest known one was about 6.

    I stand corrected. And I should have checked.

    Hmm, the higher number would put some stress on large structures after all.

    Sean:

    It just so happened I had a superior book shelf. :-P

    (It helps to have a good memory, of course – I wouldn’t have expended time going through my Asimov anthologies blindly. But I also search fast. Every little bit helps in this business. :-)

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