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Minneapolis Minnesota 35W Bridge Collapse Part 2 UPDATED

Minneapolis 35W Bridge Collapse UPDATED

 

Click 35W Bridge Collapse Pictures to see pictures from an Emergency First Responder

Click Minneapolis Minnesota 35W Bridge Collapse Part 2 UPDATED for information updated starting Friday morning. This post has become quite long.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by this evening’s tragic 35W bridge collapse here in Minneapolis.

Fortunately I have accounted for all my students at the University of Minnesota. All are safe and sound.

I appreciate those that have called. I am safe and was not near the area when it happened.

Please keep those impacted and those doing rescue and recovery work in your thoughts and prayers.

I will post any necessary updates as I have them.

UPDATED 9:10 PM

  • Click American Red Cross Twin Cities to see how you can help. The site is seeing heavy traffic and may not be available when you try and reach it. A call for blood donors has gone out.

UPDATED 9:15 PM

  • It may be difficult to get to the office the next couple of days because of traffic from where I live in Downtown Minneapolis. If I can get there I will. If not, I will go there late tomorrow night and pull my VoIP and work from home. For now I have forwarded the phone line to my cell phone. Email is the preferred way to reach me Thursday and Friday.

UPDATED 9:20 PM

  • The Minnesota Twins have cancelled their day game tomorrow and the ground breaking ceremony for the new stadium has been postponed. For those not from this area the Metrodome is located just south and just west of the bridge collapse. The cancellation is to allow traffic to flow as well as it can and for recovery efforts not be impeded by the event. The game was not cancelled tonight, 45 minutes after the accident, because they did not want to send 20,000+ back on the roads when emergency vehicles were coming in.

UPDATED 9:45 PM

  • Because the Red Cross site is not always loading here are blood donation sites:
    • St. Paul Area Blood Donation Center
      176 South Robert Street
      St. Paul, MN 55107
    • North Suburban Blood Donation Center
      Northwest Youth & Family Services
      3490 Lexington Ave. N
      Shoreview, MN 55126
    • Chippewa Valley Blood Donation Center
      3485 E. Hamilton Av
      Eau Claire, WI 54701
    • Minneapolis Area Blood Donation Center
      1201 W. River Pkwy.
      Minneapolis, MN 55454
    • Bloomington Area Blood Donation Center
      505 W. 98th Street, Suite 403
      Minneapolis, MN 55420
    • St. Cloud Area Blood Donation Center
      1301 West St. Germaine Street
      Saint Cloud, MN 56301
  • You can also call 612-460-3700.

UPDATED 9:50 PM

UPDATED 9:55 PM

UPDATED 11:45 PM

UPDATED 8:00 AM THURSDAY

  • Admittedly I am not much of a miracle person. I do have a spiritual side of me. But at this point with the sheer number of cars and people on that bridge at that time it is a miracle we have not lost more. Yes there are still 20+ missing. And yes any loss of life of tragic. This could have been so, so much worse.
  • Over night the death toll has been reduced from 7 to 4.
  • I am becoming highly annoyed with the national coverage and their inaccuracies, corrections are made below.
  • I am irate with some of the local political bloggers, from the left and right, who are already politicizing this. Shame on them. There is a time and place but mere hours after the event is not appropriate. I will call them out below.

UPDATED 12:15 PM THURSDAY

  • U.S. Coast Guard has closed Mississippi River traffic 5 miles above and 5 miles below the collapsed bridge.
  • Water depth is around 9 feet in the immediate vicinity. The Army Corp of Engineers is lowering the flow from the lock and dam just upstream (west) of the collapsed bridge. This will lower the water depth to an estimated 7 feet.

UPDATED 2:00 PM THURSDAY

  • Downstream the river current is 1 – 2 knots. The fallen bridge has caused a backup in the water increasing the speed of the river. Also, it has created many eddy’s making flow irregular.
  • Because of that divers have been brought back to shore.

UPDATED 3:30 PM THURSDAY

  • As much as I wanted to stay away from the area I needed to come into the office and pick up material for a meeting tomorrow morning.

I left downtown and took the Hennepin Avenue Bridge to University Ave. Traffic heading north was normal. Traffic heading south across the bridge was very heavy.

I went east on University Ave and moved at a normal speed until I came to a stop about 4 blocks before the intersection with 35W.

Traffic moved slowly but it did move.

There were some pedestrians, bikers, etc but less than 100 in total.

The right lane of three lanes is closed off with a heavy police presence. There is also many, many local, national, and international camera crews in that area, the north end of the bridge.

Traffic lights are turned off so you can move fairly well except of course everyone is going slow to see what they can of the destruction.

Admittedly I did the same. Except for the previous six weeks during construction I used that entrance/exit at least three times a week. I also drove underneath the bridge every day to get to the office.

Except today.

As I looked south it looked like a movie set. As people have been saying TV gives you an idea but until you drive by you cannot fathom what happened.

I can only imagine what it is like to be on the ground.

UPDATED 4:00 PM THURSDAY

UPDATED 6:15 PM THURSDAY

  • First Lady Laura Bush was already going to be in town Friday to attend a Republican National Committee summer meeting being held in the city and make a speech at a youth conference at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

    She will also meet with victims and stop at an emergency operation command center to visit with volunteers and first responders.

  • President George Bush is coming Saturday to see the damage and meet with local and national officials. As of this moment no further details are available.

UPDATED 6:45 PM THURSDAY

  • Information on Salvation Army
  • Monetary donations earmarked "Disaster Relief" may be sent to:
    • The Salvation Army at 2445 Prior Ave., Roseville, MN 55113 or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • To donate online, go to www.salarmy.org

UPDATED 7:00 PM THURSDAY

UPDATED 7:45 PM THURSDAY

UPDATED 8:30 PM THURSDAY

  • I left the office a little after 8 pm and the usual 6 minute drive took 20 minutes. I understand people want to the devastation themselves but there is not much to see from University Avenue. And with the 10th Avenue Bridge closed all you really see is that the bridge is missing but not so much what is on the ground.

UPDATED 10:00 PM THURSDAY

  • I am already growing tired of seeing the red flashing lights from the helicopters in the air and the faint sound of the rotors. I think I heard they need to be 3 miles from the scene so that helps.

MEDIA CORRECTIONS:

  • 35W does NOT connect Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is a north/south road.
  • CNN has speculated that a rush of water could have eroded the under side of the bridge. The bridge is 60 feet+ in the air.
  • CNN has speculated that the train crushed by the bridge could have hit a “pylon” (my word not theirs). Uh, NO the track goes no where near one.
  • The Mississippi River is currently not a raging river. We are in a drought.
  • That stretch is 4 lanes in each direction
  • A barge could not have hit a pylon, there are none. The bridge was a span across the river.
  • Water depth in the area is not that deep. It is between 4 feet – 20 feet.
  • Because of resurfacing/construction 4 lanes of traffic in each way were down to 2 lanes each way.

SHITTY BLOGGERS
Already the political bloggers are taking advantage of the situation. I am not bashing them for their political view but they could have waited some time to get into. Like once all the missing are found. At least 24 hours would have been nice. I guess that is too much decency to hope for:

Comments

Thomas

Good updates. Glad to see facts being spread around. I know my thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

Ben

Glad to hear that you are OK. I watched most of this unfold on CNN myself last night. I turned it off after Wolf Blitzer made the idiotic statement to the effect of "most of us worry when we cross a bridge, but never expect something like this to happen". BS, I've never thought twice about going over a bridge, nor do most others. What a tool.

I was just up there last week (sorry I didn't touch base, but my free-time in Minneapolis was a bit unclear going up. I was on I-35W a couple times, but always south of the bridge.

We have a couple hundred employees downtown and are still working on confirming their whereabouts. Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone in the TC.

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