Captain Ed has a chilling video of the bridge collapse taken by a nearby security camera. Given that I’ve driven across the bridge dozens of times, and many of my friends take it every day, this whole situation is incredibly chilling.
I’ve driven across this bridge every few days for thirty years. There are bridges, and there are bridges; this one had the most magnificent view of downtown available, and it’s a miracle I never rear-ended anyone while gawking at the skyline, the old Stone Bridge, the Mississippi. You always felt proud to be here when you crossed that bridge, pleased to live in such a beautiful place. Didn’t matter if it was summer twilight or hard cold winter noon – Minneapolis always seemed to be standing at attention, posing for a formal portrait . We’ll have that view again – but it’ll take a generation before it’s no longer tinged with regret and remembrance.
Meanwhile, the official death toll is down to 4 — but that will rise as the Hennepin County Coroner’s Office processes the victims of this tragedy.
UPDATE: Mitch Berg has some more thoughts about the collapse. He’s right in pointing out that the bridge was designed so that you’d scarcely know you were on a bridge — which would make it all the more frightening when the road underneath you gave way…
UPDATE: John Hinderaker notes that the bridge was rated as being “structurally deficient” in 2005 — what’s frightening is that 40-50% of bridges in Minnesota are also rated that way. I have a feeling that a collapse this total and this sudden was the result of a design flaw combined with some structural cracking, rather than just structural cracking alone, but even that isn’t very reassuring.