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Minnesota Bridge Collapse

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

A national news story has hit a little closer than I’d like after the I-35 bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River in my hometown area of Minneapolis.

I found on when I headed to the gym – it was on all the tvs there. I stared at them, dumbfounded, for a few minutes before rushing downstairs to get my phone….where the first text message asking if my family was ok had arrived.

I rang home and my mother answered with, “Chad’s [my brother] ok.” I quickly called my father and found out the rest of my family was all right too.

For the next hour, I became that-girl-at-the-gym-on-the-cell-phone. Thankfully (?) the cell towers in the Twin Cities were overloaded, so I was limited to texting my friends to make sure they were all right. So far, everyone seems to be, but just like any other major incident, there are lots of close calls and what ifs…like the fact my brother had driven over the bridge only 15 minutes before on his way to a final less than a mile away, or that some of my friends drive over that bridge every day on their way to and from work and had just gotten home when it collapsed. As one friend put it, a bridge collapse because of a structural incident is something that happened 100 years ago….or occurs in other countries. You never expect it to happen your backyard.

Sometimes, when I drive way up high over the I-405 or the I-5 just south of the Portland, I think about all those not-yet-funded
earthquake-proofing plans for the bridges. I saw on the always credible FOX News at 10 the first ‘Could it happen here?’ scare story. Not to be difficult, but don’t you think if Kare 11 or WCCO in the Twin Cities had done that story last night, they’d get the same pat answers I’m sure ODOT handed out to the news crews this evening? Food for thought….