Tons of concrete have collapsed and survivors are being carried up the riverbank. Both the northbound and southbound lanes of 35W are lying in the Mississippi River, according to local CBS TV affiliate WCCO.com.And this from another article, also on Fox News:
Pieces of bridge wreckage lay on the east bank of the river, while large portions of concrete roadway lay on the west bank. Rescuers are scrambling to help people caught on parts of the roadway in the river gorge, according to the Star-Tribune.com.
There are multiple cars still in the river and a couple cars on fire. According to one witness, there was a school bus full of children on the bridge. MyFOX9 reports that the school bus landed on all fours after the collapse and all the children are safe.
The entire span of an interstate bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River during evening rush hour Wednesday, sending vehicles, tons of concrete and twisted metal crashing into the water.Needless to say, I could not believe my eyes and I immediately attempted to contact friends and family in the Minneapolis area to make certain they were ok. At this point, all seems well with my Minnesotans.
The I-35W Bridge crossed the Mississippi River very near the University of Minnesota, between the historic Stone Arch Bridge and the Cedar Avenue Bridge. A major crossing in the Minneapolis area since its construction in 1967 (when I was only six years old), the I-35W Bridge carried ~140,000 cars per day. Built as a deck-arch truss bridge, the structure had no support piers in the river; rather, the bulk of the span was held up by support piers on the riverbank instead, an innovation that permitted unimpeded passage of river navigation. It was not considered a “pretty” bridge, especially when compared to the Stone Arch structure; yet, it was a workhorse of the Twin Cities transportation network, with four lanes of traffic traveling in each direction. The total length of the bridge was 1907 feet, with the longest span being 458 feet.
I have crossed this bridge more times than I can count. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would collapse.
Photo taken in May 2006 by Todd Murray.