Learning from bridge collapses I-35W Minneapolis and Tacoma Narrows

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Posted on 10th February 2008 by Judy Breck in engineering

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On August 1, 2007, the Interstate Highway 35W bridge that crosses the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed during the afternoon rush hour. The video above captures the collapse itself. A a Web feature called 35W Bridge Collapse In Minneapolis at Science Museum of Minnesota Community looks at many subjects related to the disaster. Included is a link to the official website of the building of the replacement: I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge which gives these features for the new bridge:

  • 100-year life span
  • 10 lanes of traffic, five in each direction—two lanes wider than the former bridge
  • 189 feet wide—the previous bridge was 113 feet wide
  • 13 foot wide right shoulders and 14 foot wide left shoulders, the previous bridge had no shoulders
  • Light Rail Transport-ready which may help accommodate future transportation needs
  • Design-build project complete in 437 days.
  • Designed to be aesthetically pleasing and fit in with its environment

Another bridge disaster that is very famous is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse. A Web exhibit at the University of Washington Library offers this invitation:

bridge1.jpgThe Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened in 1940 with the third longest suspension span in the world. Four months after traffic began crossing the bridge it collapsed. On the webpages here the University of Washington Library interfaces the story of the bridge with narrative and images from its historic collections. Engineering students can visit these pages to virtually live a professional nightmare.

This Google Sightseeing map views the replacement bridge that crosses the Tacoma Narrow today