The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of repairs when the bridge collapsed during the evening rush hour Wednesday. Cars plummeted more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River, some falling on top of one another.
At least four people are confirmed dead, and approximately 79 were injured as a result of the collapse. Eight people are still missing. Divers continue to search the wreckage, but progress is slow due to the amount of debris in the water, including a number of vehicles.
The bridge failure appears to have been the result of a failure by state officials to acknowledge and take seriously prior reports regarding the structural problems with the bridge. There is a rush now by governments everywhere to inspect their bridges. Unfortunately, the heightened awareness was too late to save the people in Minneapolis.
Unfortunately, the accident is not the only of its kind. The worst bridge collapse accident in American history occurred here in West Virginia when the Silver Bridge collapsed in December 1967, killing 46 people.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse.