Crumbling Infrastructure and ‘benign neglect’ : Minneapolis not an isolated incident
August 2, 2007, 10:43 am
Filed under: collapse, news, politics


News Only Available Outside the US : 35W found to be at risk of collapse in 2001 (North Korea Times)


“Minnesota state authorities say the bridge that collapsed over the Mississippi River was built 40 years ago and was under repair for minor problems. Constructed in 1967, the mainly steel structure stretches 581 metres across the river in Minneapolis and rests on 14 spans.”


“In a 2001 report by the state’s Department of Transportation, problems with corrosion in the bridge’s steel beams and poor welding in trusses was documented. The report also said that the design of the bridge, in which only two main trusses support the load of eight lanes of traffic, was theoretically at risk of collapse in the case of a single crack in a truss section.”

“The section of the bridge that straddled the Mississippi measured 300 metres with three continuous spans, and the central part 139 metres long, and two others at 80 metres each. The structure was designed using a cantilever method, with decks resting on triangular metal girders supported by arches between the spans.”


Infrastructure Report Card : D (American Society of Civil Engineers)

All aspects of our infrastructure are failing


The White House said Thursday that an inspection two years ago found structural deficiencies in the highway bridge that buckled during evening rush hour in Minneapolis. White House press secretary Tony Snow said the Interstate 35W span rated 50 on a scale of 120 for structural stability. (AP/Yahoo)




Bridge collapse caught on tape (CNN via MediaBistro)




Inspectors saw fatigue cracks in 35W in 2006 (Sun2Surf)




Not an isolated incident : over ¼ of America’s bridges are structurally deficient (CBS)


3 Comments so far
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The engineer that was responsible for this “minor repair” on the bridge is in deep trouble—To make this screw up an entrance to the argument that all of our infastructure is at risk is only trying to game the public (much like our current administration) Yes there are structures that need upgrades or replacement. But let’s not buy the spin that the contruction industry is starting to feed into the media.

Comment by TR Brunelle

I’m not blaming any engineer that was working on this bridge yesterday (although surely a scapegoat will be found) – I hold responsible the federal and state governments, and their subcontractors, and Minnesota congressional committees, that have neglected U.S. infrastructure to the detriment of the public.

While the entire infrastructure is crumbling (see the Infrastructure Report Card link above), and a large part of it is up for sale to Corporate Entities, that’s certainly not an endorsement of the construction industry or its’ practices.

Trillions of dollars go overseas for imperialist wars, and for politically-motivated economic aid, at taxpayer expense. There’s a number of issues involved here: a car-centric geography and economy in the U.S., diversion of funds and messed up priorities, and systematic neglect of civil infrastructure. I don’t think the construction industry can fix any of that.

Comment by hope2012

I used to cross that bridge all the time so I guess I got lucky. hahah

The state of Minnesota has filed a lawsuit against URS Corporation arguing that they failed in their responsibilities to inspect, analyze, and evaluate the bridge. They held three contracts with the state to inspect the bridge and suggest modifications and that the company assured the state of its expertise in assessing the needs for repairs. URS spokesman Ronald Low says the company intends to “vigorously defend” itself.

The URS noted the National Transportation Safety Boards findings into the cause of the collapse pointed to both the bridge’s original flawed design and the spacing of materials on the bridge as part of a construction project.

Comment by Kyle Webs

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