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Minnesota Bridge Collaspe





scotty
http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/we-are-in-recovery-mode/2007/08/02/1185648045947.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 wrote:
A bridge carrying a major highway in the US state of Minnesota has collapsed during rush hour, plunging vehicles into a river and killing at least seven people.

Many more are feared dead in the disaster in the city of Minneapolis, with up to 50 cars and other vehicles on the bridge when it suddenly buckled and plunged up to 20 metres.

Many of the vehicles were thrown into the Mississippi River when the 150-metre section of the structure collapsed.

"At this point we have seven confirmed fatalities, and we expect that number to go up as well," said Jim Clack, the Minneapolis Fire Chief.

Hospital officials say at least one of the dead drowned.

Clack said more than 60 people had been rushed to hospital. Earlier reports said at least six survivors had sustained critical injuries.

Rescue operations were called off tonight when darkness fell, because it was simply too dangerous to continue.

"We have moved from a rescue mode ... to a recovery mode," Clack said, suggesting emergency crews did not expect to find anyone else alive.

Survivors have told of realising in horror that there were cars in freefall as the 40-year-old bridge - which was under repair at the time - came crashing down in a thunderous roar.

The structure plunged about 20 metres into the river and onto concrete embankments. It also fell across a rail line, cutting a freight train in half, WCCO television reported.

The collapse sparked fires among the debris of the bridge, and left trucks and cars clinging precariously to sections of the structure, which protruded from the river at alarming angles.

A group of school children managed to escape after their bus literally bounced along a section of the bridge before hitting a concrete barrier. The children fled to safety through the rear door, but news reports said some of the students had been injured, two critically.

Ryan Watkins, one of the children who was on the school bus, said the bus bounced twice and stopped, its front door wedged against a concrete traffic barrier. The students fled through the rear door.

Melissa Hughes, 32, who was driving home across the bridge in bumper to bumper traffic, said she experienced a moment of pure terror when she realised her car was falling.

"You know that free fall feeling? I felt that twice," said Hughes, who was not injured. A pickup truck ended up on top of her car, partially crushing the top and back end but she was able to escape.

Peter Siddons was also heading home when he heard "crunching" and saw the bridge start to roll and then crumple, he told the Star Tribune.

"It kept collapsing, down, down, down until it got to me."

His car dropped with the steel arch bridge but stopped when his car rolled into the car in front of him.

"I thought I was dead," Siddons said. "Honestly, I honestly did. I thought it was over."

Truck driver Charles Flowers, who saw the collapse from banks of the river, said he watched helplessly as water began to fill floating cars, and people - injured and dazed - yelled for help.

He and several others ran down the riverbank and he pulled a woman from the water, but he did not believe she survived.

In Washington, Department of Homeland Security officials said there was no sign that the eight-lane bridge's collapse was the result of terrorism, adding that it appeared to be linked to engineering problems.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said the bridge - which the state transport agency said carries 200,000 cars a day - was last inspected in 2006 and no significant structural problems were found.

"They notified us from an engineering standpoint the deck may have to be rehabilitated or replaced in 2020 or beyond," he said.

There was, however, construction taking place on the bridge "relating to concrete repair and rehabilitation and replacement, guard rail replacement, righting replacement and work on the joints," he said.

It was a disastrous scene as injured people crouched on bent and crumpled concrete with parts of the bridge submerged in the brown river as smoke and flames drifted from the wreckage.

Rescue workers tied with yellow rope waded through the water and used boats to reach people stranded in the middle of the river.

Sarah Fahnhorst, who lives in an apartment a block away from the bridge, heard a huge thud and then "the entire building shook. It shook the ground," she said.

Dr Joseph Clifton told reporters that his hospital, Hennepin County Medical Center, had taken in 22 injured, six of them critical.

One man was dead on arrival, having drowned.

"Most were blunt-type injuries, in the face and extremities," Clifton said, adding many suffered internal injuries.

More patients, and deaths, were expected, he said.

Some 8km of the Mississippi River on either side of the collapsed bridge have been shut to river traffic, the US Coast Guard said.

The river, the longest in the United States, is a major transportation route.


I was quite surprised to hear of this, this is the sort of news story you expect to come from a third world country, not the USA. Must have been quite terrifying for the people on the bridge at the time. If you aren't safe on their roads where are you?
smartpandian
I can't beleive it... These incidents make me think that
US started falling down from the so called developed nation..
GSIS
Things like that can happen anywhere. The US is not immune simply because it sets itself above everyone else.

It'll be interesting to see what the investigation reveals.
otiscom
Is that area prone to earth quakes?

I'm in the UK.
ocalhoun
^Not at all. That area is very stable geologically. The main force at work is the river itself.
I would suspect wind, faulty repair work, or eroded foundations as the cause (or a combination thereof).
HollyK
It might also have to do with having a dynamic load on the bridge from the cars and trucks. Plus, the way it was designed, if something happened to a critical part of the bridge, the failure could cascade, unlike newer bridges. Take a modern suspension bridge, like the Golden Gate bridge in California. Lets say one half of the cables on one side of a span were severed. The bridge should still hold up, at least long enough to be evacuated and be repaired. Also, it is still 50% stronger than critical minimum.
outofnicks
Recent reports reveal how some of the crew working on the bridge when it collapsed felt regular tremors over a period of time before the collapse as they were doing some resurfacing work.
Other reports tell of design flaws in the bridge from the time of it's construction. This site has several related stories of interest to anyone interested in the technical details of the bridge and the disaster:
http://www.designnews.com/article/CA6464926.html
tempdbs
Here are some of the pictures of Minnesota Bridge Collaspe and sending numerous vehicles into the Mississippi River, near St Paul, Minnesota.







Very Tradegic...

Source - from my official mail box
outofnicks
I had to wait five minutes for the pictures to load as I am on a dialup connection. At least now they are cached for my next visit to this thread, but why do such small images have to have such large file sizes? We can go to any of the news sites to see the same but larger images that are probably not more than 50k for the most part.
missdixy
dear Lord, that would have been such a frightening ordeal for me if I lived there or knew people who do. Lucky, I don't, but still..scary. That's always been my fear when I drive over bridges (that they'll collapse) and I always make myself feel stupid for even thinking that could ever happen...then this happens....


eeep. Sad
Lord Klorel
i don't understand how it is possible that this could happen. a construction error? No, an engeneer that can't build a bridge!! That is my opinion.
I hope that with this accident they will understand how important it is that construction will be maded in good condition.
LumberJack
There are several problems:

1. Lack of Government infrastructure funding. This is often a political move. Most voters don't see the benefit of spending 2 billion trying to repair roads, pipes, and infrastructure.

2. Engineers. Today, architects and engineers just design and build, however no guidance is given about maintaining the bridges, or scheduled mainteance plans are not included.

These combined cause infrastructure to deteriorate to the point of breakdown. It isn't just a US problem, it is actually a global problem.
bgillingham
I earned a BS in Civil Engineering and I want to put in my 2’ -- most structures will fail someday. The best structures are those with very little potential energy (pretty much "not tall") and those with a factor of safety greater than 10 (meaning that the bearable load is ten times greater than the actual load). Most construction is done with a factor of safety of around 3.

So, you could add this to the things that are guaranteed in life "death, taxes, structural failures".

I know that my home state of Pennsylvania has thousands and thousands of bridges -- many of these have visible patches of concrete missing from support columns as well as rust in many places. In the last 20 years, I have seen the closing of at least six bridges.

The problem is global, but it seems to me that this type of thing shouldn't happen in America since we're supposed to be so great in so many ways (if you couldn't tell, I actually don't subscribe to this belief).
LumberJack
bgillingham wrote:
I earned a BS in Civil Engineering and I want to put in my 2’ -- most structures will fail someday. The best structures are those with very little potential energy (pretty much "not tall") and those with a factor of safety greater than 10 (meaning that the bearable load is ten times greater than the actual load). Most construction is done with a factor of safety of around 3.

So, you could add this to the things that are guaranteed in life "death, taxes, structural failures".

I know that my home state of Pennsylvania has thousands and thousands of bridges -- many of these have visible patches of concrete missing from support columns as well as rust in many places. In the last 20 years, I have seen the closing of at least six bridges.

The problem is global, but it seems to me that this type of thing shouldn't happen in America since we're supposed to be so great in so many ways (if you couldn't tell, I actually don't subscribe to this belief).


My intent wasn't trying to blame Engineers, however, some of the problem does lie with them, at least in my country. There are no lifetime maintenance plans given for infrastructures that are enforced. I think that would curb the problems of stuctural failures that occur without notice. It is naieve to believe that bridges will last forever.
joshumu
Thats crazy. I will be going to the twin cities next week end. I will have to check it out. Im fascinated with disasters.
Soulfire
The fact is ... accidents happen. Even the most stable, secure, and inspected things fail at times. This is no sign that America is any less developed, it was just a freak accident.
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