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Minneapolis Dedicating Memorial To Bridge Victims

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(credit: City of Minneapolis)

(credit: City of Minneapolis)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minneapolis will mark the fourth anniversary of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse by dedicating a memorial honoring the lives lost and the survivors of the disaster.

City officials will dedicate the Remembrance Garden across the street from Gold Medal Park starting at 5:10 p.m. Monday. Speakers at the public ceremony will include Mayor R.T. Rybak and Gov. Mark Dayton.

The memorial includes 13 pillars, each etched with the name of a person who died when the bridge fell into the Mississippi River in 2007. Another 145 people were injured when the span broke up during the evening rush hour.

Another component of the memorial is a stone water wall inscribed with the names of everyone who was on the bridge but survived. There’s a path leading from the wall to an observation deck on the bluff overlooking the river and the new bridge.

City officials say the ceremony will start with a presentation of colors by an honor guard from the Minneapolis police and fire departments, and the Hennepin County sheriff’s department and emergency medical services.

There will be a reading of all the names on the memorial. The ceremony will conclude with a minute of silence at 6:05 p.m. to mark the exact time the bridge collapsed, followed by the release of 13 doves.

Dayton has ordered that all U.S. and Minnesota flags be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol complex from sunrise to sunset Monday in remembrance of those who died in the disaster. His proclamation honors the victims, their families and communities and the first responders who came to their aid.

Plans for the memorial were announced in 2008, but a series of fundraising and logistical issues held it up until a $1.5 million contribution from law firms that represented the victims revived the project. Survivors and victims’ family members worked closely with officials on the design and location.

Federal investigators blamed the collapse on connector plates that were too thin and a heavy load of construction material staged above vulnerable parts by a paving company doing bridge work at the time. A settlement last August resolved the last major piece of litigation brought by victims. All told, the state and two of its contractors will have paid out at least $100 million to the families of those killed and injured.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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