Thursday, August 02, 2007

Interstate bridge collapses in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - An interstate bridge jammed with rush-hour traffic suddenly broke into huge sections and collapsed into the Mississippi River Wednesday, pitching dozens of cars 60 feet into the water and killing at least seven people.

The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of being repaired and two lanes in each direction were closed when the bridge buckled. About 20 families gathered at an information center, looking for information on loved ones they couldn't locate.

"There were two lanes of traffic, bumper to bumper, at the point of the collapse. Those cars did go into the river," said Minneapolis Police Lt. Amelia Huffman. "At this point there is nothing to suggest that this was anything other than a structural collapse."

By 1 a.m. Thursday, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said all search efforts had been called off for the night and that searchers did not expect to find any survivors.

"It's dark, it's not safe with the currents in the water and the concrete and rebar," he said. "At this point it is a recovery effort."

One of the things I hate most when driving is to get stuck on as bridge by a red light or road work and have to just sit there and feel the thing vibrate whenever a car or truck drives over it, or even when the wind blows.

I know that they are designed to flex this way and that if they weren't they would collapse very quickly, but I also know that if the exact right set of sympathetic vibrations are set up in the structure that the entire bridge will start to writhe like a snake on a hotplate and the bridge will tear itself apart.
Anyone want to start a betting pool on how long it will take someone to blame global warming?