On August 1st, 2008, disaster struck the Twin Cities as the Interstate 35W bridge that spans the Mississippi River between Downtown Minneapolis and the north side of the city collapsed during rush hour. Thirteen people died and 145 were injured.
I did not live in the area at the time, so I can’t quite share the same feelings that must have been shared by everyone in Minneapolis-St. Paul. I’m sure that most people either used the bridge regularly, or know someone who did, and the thought “That could have been me or someone I love” must have been pervasive.
The effect of the bridge collapse on my life has been much smaller. With one of the city’s main arteries cut off, the effect on traffic throughout downtown and the surrounding area has been huge. This is especially pertinent to me, since I live near downtown and have to get to the East Bank every day to get to the University of Minnesota. Since bicycling is my main mode of transportation, increased traffic is obviously an issue, although the bike lanes have made this fairly manageable. The other problem is that I have to find a way to get across the river on one of about five bridges, which are of course carrying the load that the interstate bridge used to take. In addition, the bike trail along the river bank has been cut off where it passes underneath the bridge, further limiting my options.