MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Today marks the 10-year-anniversary of the 35W bridge collapse.
It was around 6 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2007, when the bridge broke apart. It happened during rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring 145. First responders and ordinary citizens alike jumped into action to help each other that day, and in the years to come.
Ask almost any of the families impacted by the bridge collapse, and they’ll tell you it seems like it was yesterday. The new bridge was built within a year of the accident.
For the families and those hurt, the rebuilding never ends.
“Each person here today and beyond had a version of this story,” Anne Burke, whose mother died in the bridge collapse, said at Tuesday’s ceremony.
A small piece of the collapsed 35W bridge is now on display outside the Minneapolis Emergency Operations training facility, a reminder of all that was lost 10 years ago.
“I remember preparing and giving the eulogy at her funeral. I remember feeling like I had no tears left, and I will never forget the day I realized I needed to seek professional help because I didn’t know if I could go on,” said Burke.
When the bridge fell apart, so did the lives of many. That includes Anne Burke of Shoreview, whose mother Sherry Engebretsen was among the 13 people killed in the collapse.
“I laid down that night in a pile of tissues knowing that regardless of the results, there was no way my life would ever play out as I imagined,” Burke said.
In the middle of the rubble and the sorrow, survivors and first responders will never forget the many acts of courage and kindness they saw.
“We will be forever grateful for the hard work you do every day without hesitation,”
A disaster that took away so much from so many also led the way to discovering common ground among all Minnesotans that can’t be broken.
“Thank you to all those who promised us 10 years ago they would never leave our side and never did. Because without them, we would not be here today,” Burke said.
The National Transportation Safety Board eventually cited a design flaw as the likely cause of the collapse. The colors of the new bridge will go dark this evening to mark the anniversary.