MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The memorial to victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse is starting to take shape at a Minneapolis park along the Mississippi River.

Mayor R.T. Rybak and the architect of the so-called Remembrance Garden showcased the construction progress Thursday. Crews began digging on the site a few days ago.

The memorial will consist of a plaza with 13 LED-lit beams — one representing each person killed when the bridge crumbled during an August rush hour in 2007. A wall of cascading water will feature the names of the nearly 150 survivors and a path to an observation deck will provide a view of the new 35W bridge.

remembrance garden Memorial To 35W Bridge Victims Starts Taking Shape

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak committed to building the Remembrance Garden within budget and including an endowment for ongoing maintenance, and to completing it in time for a formal dedication on August 1, 2011, the anniversary of the bridge collapse.

The memorial was first announced in 2008 and got a major boost last summer when a legal settlement tied to the collapse included $1.5 million toward the project.

A man who was on the bridge when it fell says he will visit the memorial.

“We can go, we can be anonymous and just be there and just reflect, remember, pray for those who are gone and everybody who has been affected by this,” said Brent Olson, a bridge collapse survivor.

The goal is to dedicate the memorial during the Aug. 1 anniversary.

Click here to see more sketches of the memorial.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (8)
  1. Totellthetruth says:

    A memorial? Yes, this was a sad deal. What actually did these “victims” do to deserve all of the compensation and now a memorial? I am sorry it happened folks but let us use a bit of common sense here. It’s not like these people were off fighting a war or something. Insurance covered a lot of this and also compensation through government agencies and civil suits. And now a memorial… We treat these “victims” better then we treat our military, fire and police personnel when they actually give their life while serving us. Bottom line is that the attorney’s probably ran off with more of “our” money than the “victim” families!! Think about it!

  2. Matt says:

    What…. Come on, yes it was tragic, but a memorial? 13 beams, if i was a family member I would find this offensive really, the failing of the beams on the bridge killed them.

    If they would have put a plaque on the bridge with a dedication to the ones lost, I bet 99% of the citizens, including victims families, would have been A’OK with that.

    How much money is wasted on this memorial that could be spent on making other bridges safer…… I think the victims would rather other bridges get the money than a stupid memorial!

  3. red says:

    I am with Matt and to totellthetruth, a memorial is ridiculous and waste of money!!!

  4. Why? says:

    The memorial is a small price to pay, and a good reminder of why we should have built a proper bridge, with proper inspections to begin with.

  5. MN Mom says:

    The bridge collapse is, in my opinion, a tragic and historical event. Whenever an event occurs due to lesson needing to be learned (fix the d@mn bridge) or a crazy psycho (OK Federal bombing, 911, etc.) memorials are placed. The memorials remind us of the lesson learned as well as the price of our freedom.

    While I too feel that our military, police, fire, etc. personnel deserve more benefits and recognition, the fact is, they are in those situations by choice. The people killed on the bridge were everyday people like you and I. There last moments were likely spent in terror and their friends and family will forever be affected. No amount of money can change that… neither can a memorial, but it does show respect and rememberance. I agree that something other than “beams” should have been used. Also, I count 14, one for the child one of the female victims was carrying at the time.

  6. APM says:

    Yes, this was a tragic event, but I’d like to know if a memorial would have been built if one of the victims had been a dangerous criminal (eg. serial killer) who just happened to be on the bridge getting transported to another prison.
    People get killed frequently on the roads due to unsafe conditions, eg. when a piece of concrete falls off an overpass. Do we build a memorial for them as well? The families get compensated by insurance and civil suits as stated by Totellthetruth above. Memorials are for people who die in service to their country. What is happening here is an emotional reaction to a tragic event and we think that building a memorial will make us feel better, but it lessens the value of memorials to real heroes.

  7. Realist says:

    To the doubters…the Military, Fire, Police and a like, they all had a choice to do that trade or fight for this great contury.

    The victims of the 35W bridge collapse did not have a choice, they did not have a say in the decision for the bridge to fail or the choice to parish…they desrve this memorial and deserve any remeberance, be it a glance as one walks or drives by, or croses over the bridge and even when one reads an article pertaining to it.

    As do our heros of the aforementioned above…but memorials are not just for one faction. Memorials are meant for tragic events, it is just unfortunate the majority have to deal with war and it’s losses or criminals and their decisions.

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