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Friday, August 03, 2007

Thoughts About 35W

Let's take a walk on the bridge
Right over this mess

There’s really nothing much to talk about except for the 35W bridge so here goes nothing.

I first heard about it when I was going to lunch and listening to the radio. After song I was listening to I heard the DJ saying that a bridge collapsed in Minneapolis. I first thought it was a crazy DJ stunt because bridges just don’t collapse but they kept on describing it as “horrible”, “like a scene out of a movie”, and “tragedy”. I knew something had to be up so I turned to the AM news station.

Sure enough the 35W bridge collapsed and the first reaction was “holy shit!”. I immediately called my workers to take a break and call their families because I would never want to leave this info away from them and they were going to find out one way or another so I figured it was best to maintain things a bit.

The thing about this bridge is that anyone could’ve easily been using that bridge at that time. The Twins were playing later and all it took was someone to take a detour through Roseville (coming from the East of course) and head in using 35W. Therefore contacting family and friends were definitely in mind.

I called my parents and told them about what happened. Then I called my brother because he wasn’t home. I knew he was working around the city and at a different place every week (life as a contractor) and he could’ve just as easily been on this bridge. Luckily he wasn’t nor anyone I know so far.

It’s just crazy because everyone uses this bridge and after this happened you think back to the last time you went over it and how it would’ve been like to live through this. As dumb as it sounds, one gets a certain assumption to what kind of disasters can happen to your area. Here it’s tornadoes, floods, straight line winds, and severe cold--nothing that would cause something like this to happen.

So there’s 4 people confirmed dead and 8 more missing which gives you the most gruesome thoughts ever. It could be your neighbor, the person you see at the gym, or your mailman. Knowing some people had a weird notion to grab another cup of coffee or try a different route home can have a tendency to wrack your brain knowing that they missed this by seconds.

I was looking over the front pages of all the newspapers from around the country and the headlines were enough to bring that panic all over again. You see the pictures of this crumpled up bridge and it’s just hard to believe it’s happening here in the Twin Cities. You figure it would be in some 2nd world country or a city in the ring of fire but not Minneapolis.

Between the size of the bridge, where it happened, when it happened (rush hour), how it happened (completely collapsing), the river current, all the re-bar sticking every which way, how there was only a couple hours of daylight in the day, the thunderstorm that was about ready to smack the place, and a dam just upstream makes this an absolute miracle that deaths will only be in the 10-20 range. Knowing this bridge and time of day you’d assume deaths would range in the 50-70 range easily.

Then the after affects with the whole north side of Minneapolis cut off from the city is going to be nuts. All of a sudden 280 is the new freeway which is suitable (considering the circumstances) but crazy. Suddenly 94 is going to act as *the* entrance into Minneapolis which makes any commute nearly twice as worse at it was before this happened. Of course this isn’t about our inconvenience--the victims are first and foremost--but this affects a lot of people around here. Imagine if you live in St. Anthony falls and you work in Minneapolis or south of Minneapolis. Imagine what traffic is going to be like after that first snow this fall.

12 or so deaths though is unbelievable considering what happened and the conditions involved.

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