MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Friday marks seven years since the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145 others.
It was the height of the evening rush hour on Aug. 1, 2007, when the 35W bridge in Minneapolis fell into the Mississippi River. The bridge carried an estimated 140,000 vehicles per day, and the National Transportation Safety Board cited a design flaw as the likely main cause of the collapse. A gusset plate holding the bridge together failed, bringing the bridge down and changing the lives of many Minnesotans forever.
Four large pieces of the bridge are at the Minnesota Historical Society. They are the east-and west-facing gusset plates, the west-facing upper chord, and the west-facing lower chord, which come from the part of the bridge that first failed when it fell into the Mississippi River seven years ago.
Among the most terrifying and memorable sights from the bridge collapse were a semi-truck that caught fire and a school bus, which was carrying 62 children and staff returning from a field trip, that came to rest at one of the collapsed structures and was dangerously near the burning semi.
A door from that school bus and a mile-marker sign are on display at the Minnesota Historical Society’s “Then Now Wow” exhibit.
During the first 40 hours of the catastrophe, 11 area hospitals treated as many as 98 victims. It took as many as three weeks to recover all the victims from the bridge collapse.
Construction began immediately on a new bridge and opened on Sept. 18, 2008.
Sarah Mundy was on the bridge when it went down.
“So I had dropped quite a bit, I was on the bank there, not quite to the water yet,” Mundy said.