London Bridge is Falling Down

August 02, 2007 by susan
aerial view Minneapolis and the river

No, it's Minneapolis. And it's not the bridge in this photo -- but it's close.
As you know by now, an entire interstate highway bridge has fallen down in the heart of Minneapolis. This is huge. It lacks the elegance of the Golden Gate, but it's a major taken-for-granted bridge that we all breeze across, or ride under, frequently. A little more.

Once we get past the trauma and the death -- which, as my friend Will pointed out, may turn out to be about the same as an average weekend's carnage on local roads, deaths we tend to ignore -- it'll be a crippler for our town in so many ways.

And might I ask if we can pin this too on Bushco's door? You like the no taxes part? Okay, Buncko, how do you like your crumbling infrastructure now? You get what you pay for.

Unlike bad health care or shipping out to Iraq to finance your education, this bridge was an equal opportunity disaster. Will that make a difference in sorting out what went awry?

We don't have TV here in Michigan, so I'm catching snippets on sluggish internet, and somehow that herky-jerky footage suits the collapse. The technology is all about the future, but the footage looks so yesterday.

We've called friends, and assume that no one we know was on the bridge. But we know and love our city, and this hurts.

Posted in


Poet (not verified) | August 2, 2007 - 9:28am

The Jacksonville Connection

It is not suppossed to happen this way. The bridge had been inspected in 05 and 06 and was undergoing resurfacing in 07. As someone who grew up in Pittsburgh (where two rivers converge to form a third within the city limits) and has lived in Jacksonville FL (which is split in half by a river) for most of the past 30 years I have learned that part of the genius of bridges is how unextraordinary they are to you as a motorist passing over them.

You go up hill some (depending on the design of the structure) and then down. If you chose to glance sideways you notice a certain lack of clutter in the scenery, but that's pretty much it. Obladee, obladah, life goes on! La la la la life goes on! Except yesterday it suddenly did not for some 50 or so cars who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No column of armored tanks had been doing wheelees across this bridge, no terrorist explosives are indicated, neither were there severe winds or raging flood waters which might explain the disaster. The bridge just simply collapsed with no warning or indication why.

As bad as the life and connectedness (which are bridges great metaphoric mission--no?) that were lost will be the resounding sense of insecurity and uncertainty created in those not caught on the 35W bridge that collapsed.

In Jacksonville the Matthews Bridge is 53 years old and within th last month completed its resurfacing of the middle part which previously consisted of steel grating (the only thing strong and light enough to carry the traffic weight over the middle part back when it was originally built). that's all gone now and the new high-strength, light-weight concrete center rides smoothly and allows traffic to not have to slow down--for now.

The Matthews Bridge is inspected yearly too, it has always passed its inspections and hence is still open.for traffic. Today, I doubt that anyone who was taking it or any of the other 5 major bridges in Jacksonville took their transit for granted in quite the same way as they had done before yesterday..