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Thursday, 2 August 2007

The I-35W Bridge:
A Backgrounder

I-35W Bridge
Historic I-35W Mississippi River Crossing
Minneapolis, MN

The Interstate 35 West Bridge situated in Minneapolis collapsed today injury scores of people and killing many. This is a backgrounder on the actual bridge.

With the bridge suffering structural problems which were noted in a DOT May 2006 report and with an extensive rebuilding program that has been undergoing extensive cost cutting measures one thinks we haven't heard the last of this unfolding tragedy.

[click read more to see more photos and specs]
• Structure ID:NBI: 9340.
• Location:River Mile 853.20.
• River Elevation:725 Feet.
• Highway:I-35W.
• Daily Traffic Count:140,000 (2002).
• Bridge Type:Steel Arch Deck Truss Bridge.
• Length:1,907 Feet, 458 Foot Longest Span.
• Width:8 Traffic Lanes, 108 Feet.
• Navigation Channel Width:390 Feet.
• Height Above Water:64 Feet.
• Date Built:Opened November 1967.

Claim to fame: was built with a single 458 foot long steel arch to avoid putting any piers in the water to impede river navigation.

This bridge features an anti-ice system.
A series of PVC pipes carries a deicer fluid to outlets that are drilled
into the deck of the bridge. When the temperature for ice is right,
the deicer fluid is pumped onto the bridge deck. This system has
proven to be successful enough that it is being installed on other
bridges in Minnesota.

With thanks to John A Weeks III, who is the main source of the background on the The I-35W Bridge. John has an exceptional web site detailing the bridges around Minneapolis:
The Bridges And Structures Of The Major Rivers Of Minneapolis And St. Paul
Minneapolis Riverfront District: Bridges
WCPO: About the I35 W Bridge