Minneapolis Highway Bridge Collapses

The I-35 bridge which crosses the Mississippi River near the University of Minnesota collapsed during rush hour.

Minneapolis Highway Bridge Collapses Photo This video frame grab taken from KMSP television shows a burning tractor trailor at the scene of a freeway bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007. The entire span of the 35W bridge collapsed about 6:05 p.m. where the freeway crosses the river near University Avenue. (AP Photo/KMSP-TV)A freeway bridge spanning the Mississippi River collapsed during evening rush hour Wednesday, sending many cars into the water. Tons of concrete collapsed and there were injuries, authorities said. Survivors were being carried up the riverbank.

Some people were stranded on parts of the bridge that weren’t completely submerged.

The entire span of the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed about 6:05 p.m. where the freeway crosses the river near University Avenue in Minneapolis.

We’ve got friends in Minneapolis, one of whom teaches at the University. More details as they become available.

UPDATE (2035): Fox News (TV) is reporting that the span fell on cars on the ground. That certainly doesn’t bode well.

UPDATE (2104): Phone lines to the area appear to be jammed, as we’ve been getting busy signals, as have others we’ve contacted by email.

AP updates as follows:

The Homeland Security Department had received no indications Wednesday night that the collapse was related to an act of terrorism, department spokesman Russ Knocke said in Washington. “We continue to monitor the situation. At this time, there’s no indication of a nexus to terrorism,” Knocke said.

It was not clear how many people were injured. WCCO-AM reported that one body was seen being pulled from the area, covered with a blue sheet.

UPDATE (2108): CNN reports at least three dead.

Minneapolis Highway Bridge Collapses Photo 2 Mark Lacroix photographed the collapsed bridge from his apartment window. At least three people were killed when an interstate bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapsed Wednesday evening, plunging cars and chunks of concrete into the Mississippi River below. There were “lots” of injuries, said the state Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department.

UPDATE (2118): Minnesota-based bloggers Ed Morrissey and John Hinderaker reflect on the crisis. Thankfully, their loved ones were elsewhere.

UPDATE (2144): Our friends are fine. Thankfully, it looks like the death toll remains capped at three.

UPDATE (Thursday, 06:46): AP is reporting that the death toll is at 7 and that, “Rescuers called off the search as nightfall made it too dangerous to search the waters, which were filled with chucks of the mangled bridge and at least 50 vehicles in the water.”

Also:

Many motorists may have been headed to the Minnesota Twins game not far from the bridge. Team officials decided to play the game after conferring with department of public safety officials. It was decided that sending 20,000 to 25,000 people back into traffic could hinder rescue efforts, said team president Dave St. Peter.

Rather surreal but the right call.

Minnesotan James Lileks, who has “driven across this bridge every few days for thirty years,” live blogged his thoughts as the news unfolded last night.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.