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August 1, 2007 – I-35 bridge collapses during rush hour

By Mike Wills – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

During the evening rush hour on this day in 2007, the 40-year-old I-35 Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota suddenly collapsed. The resulting catastrophe caused 13 deaths and 145 injuries. During the collapse, the structure and deck fell into the river and onto the riverbanks below. The southern traffic crossing fell 81 feet eastward in the collapse. In total, there were 111 vehicles involved, the farthest falling 115 feet down to the river or onto its banks. Northern sections of the bridge fell into a rail yard, landing on three unoccupied and stationary freight cars.

The National Transportation Safety Board cited gusset plates that were too thin as the cause of the collapse of the bridge, which at the time was MInnesota’s third busiest bridge carrying more than 140,000 cars per day. The report stated that the gusset plates had ripped along a line of rivets and this issue, coupled with the additional weight of rush hour traffic, contributed to the failure of the bridge. The crossing was ultimately replaced by the I-35 Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, which opened September 18, 2008.

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