We got home last night and I checked my mail noticing a crisis notification from Metroblogging, regarding Metblogs Minneapolis [LiveBlog][LiveFootage]. We flipped on the news and saw what had transpired that evening.
The major bridge collapsed during rush-hour traffic shortly after 6:50 p.m. CT Wednesday, sending more than 50 cars plunging 20 metres into the Mississippi River.
The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of being repaired, and two lanes in each direction were closed when the bridge buckled and broke into several massive sections that fell into the water below. [CBC]
We had just been talking about Minneapolis at dinner with Henry, who is originally from Vancouver and now lives in Chile. He’s been following my blog for a while and we decided to meet up while he was in town.
A school bus that dangled precariously on the edge of one of the broken concrete slabs was carrying about 60 children, but all inside the bus managed to escape when an adult in the vehicle kicked open the back door, according to witnesses and survivors.
Others reported seeing bystanders diving into the water and repeatedly attempting to help people trapped in their submerged vehicles. [CBC]
Watching the news again this morning they had a family on TV, their mother was missing. Her husband said he didn’t want to release a photo of her because she never liked how she looked in pictures so they wanted to respect that. She is a wife, mother and only child – her father lost her mother earlier this year so he was also pretty distraught. The missing woman’s daughter said you have to tell people how much you love them every day. This almost brought me to tears… then I felt like a jerk, for many reasons.
It seems like it always takes a tragic event to get people to react. This is a sad situation but there are every-day events all around the world that should also affect us this much, as humans. Flooding, famine, hurricanes, earthquakes… …missing women & men, missing children. What the daughter of the missing woman said in the interview struck home – even though it sounds cliche it truly is important to let those you love, know they are loved.
At a press conference this morning the NTSB chairman was saying there at 70,000 bridges in all of the USA that were ranked the same as the bridge that fell: ‘structurally deficient’. There’s a database of structurally deficient bridges by state and highway that you can peruse and get a little paranoid over. I have to say that ‘terrorism’ not being mentioned or blamed in this case is a bit of a relief, but it also make me wonder about structural integrity of some places around Vancouver even.
I’ve had a bit of a series on the Pattullo over on Metblogs , but most of its issues arise from poor driving conditions, excessive speed and a poor layout for a 70-year-old bridge that handles so much traffic. I’m not going on a witch hunt by any means, but tragedies like this make you evaluate lots of things. How safe are our bridges or our buildings [Top10CrashSites]? There’s something to be said for public safety. You can browse the Ministy of Transportation website for most recent upgrades and construction, although this is just helpful in the case of tracking costs and road closures.
If you are in the Twin Cities area, Metblogs is providing great coverage and information including alternate routes for commuters, drivers and traffic pattern changes [TrafficChanges]. Thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the rescue workers.