This is horrifying:
The Interstate 35W bridge that MnDot has been working on all summer has collapsed.
The entire span of the 35W bridge collapsed about 6:05 p.m. where the freeway crosses the river near University Avenue. Traffic in both directions was affected.
There about 100,000 cars a day traveling over this bridge.
Much of the bridge is in the Mississippi River.
Firefighters and other rescue personnel are having a hard time reaching all the injured because of the debris and the location of the collapse.
Divers are now in the water.
Kent Barnard of MnDOT is on the scene and he says both the north and south lanes are down. He asked that people stay away from the area. The detour is using 280 and 94.
“The more people who stay away from the area, the better it will be for emergency personnel.”
Barnard said he’s never seen anything like this.
He compared the damage to a California earthquake.
HCMC is in full emergency mode. KARE 11 reporter Trisha Volpe says ambulances have already begun arriving. The hospital has declared this an emergency situation and that means other hospitals in the area will be dedicating resources to help HCMC.
Cars are crushed under the debris and some who survived the fall are swimming in the water.
At least one vehicle, believed to be a semi truck, is on fire.
Pieces of the bridge are on the parkway, which was filled with bikers and pedestrians.
Bumper to bumper traffic and road construction were slowing things down and all of the sudden the bridge collapsed said a man who was in that traffic around 6:00.
See photos here, and keep the families of all involved in your prayers.
Update: I am watching an unedited video of the scene right now (it’s on the WCCO webpage). This is devastating. I’m just stunned.
Thur AM Update: The death toll has been revised down to 4, and at least 60 were injured. 20 people are still missing.
Minnesota native and ST reader Ryan had this to say in the comments:
The fact that construction was limiting traffic on the bridge prevented this from being much, much worse. Oridinarily 35W is completely jammed with traffic in all lanes (I believe 3/4 going each way in this particular section).
Stay tuned …
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