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The Next Day

6:26 PM  More speculation from Popular Mechanics, via Instapundit.  More photos here, this time from the Minnesota Daily.

5:50 PM Let the political machinations begin. Or continue, depending on your perspective.

5:27 PM "This is the hardest thing ever."

3:20 PM Divers entered the water today, looking for thirty missing people, but had to leave when the current and the quantity of debris made conditions unsafe. No bodies were recovered. Video here.

Officials estimate at least 50 cars are in the river, some of which are under debris. Officials have lowered the level of the river one foot to assist the recovery effort - a remarkable thing, when you think about it. The death toll has been revised down to four, as you've probably heard, with 79 injured. As many as 30 are still missing. No one's saying what their status might be, but no one has to.

Vidblogging the aftermath here at Minnesota Stories.

We're under a state of "peacetime emergency," a term I've never heard before. This activates the State Emergency Operations Center, part of the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan. It handles everything from bird flu to a nuclear-reactor emergency. If the last 24 hours are any indication, the state's emergency response system seems robust and efficient; the usual tales of chaotic confusion haven't been heard.

ABC news anchor Charles Gibson reports from the air. Sidenote: let's put the 9/11 analogies to rest.

 

12:00 PMI’ll be away for a few hours; more later this afternoon. Not that there’s much to be said at this moment , since we’re waiting for the grim news that will follow the recovery efforts. I heard a KSTP reporter speak on the Bob Davis show this morning - he told a story about a first responder finding someone trapped in the wreckage, dying. The rescuer handed the victim a cellphone to say goodbye to loved ones.

The second day is no easier than the first. It’s often worse.

First-hand account of the collapse, from a blogger who happened to be on a river cruise on the Mississippi.

Things we may have learned:

1. There’s nothing onto which people cannot project the narrowest, most reductive political agenda. Could be the internet; could be human nature. Perhaps in 1604 AD the sight of an ox cart upside down in the ditch inevitably led to an argument about the king. We’ll have the answers in the end, and we’ll know what could have been done. But sometimes Things Fall Down, and it’s a simple, and horrible, as that.

2. As much as I love the new media, you have to admit that the old mainstream media comes in handy in times like this. One guy with a website and a camcorder can provide perspective and unfiltered reaction, but there’s something to be said for organizations that have not only reporters and cameras, but helicopters.

Update: Popular Mechanics on the bridge collapse and American infrastructure. (via many; thanks.)

Update: detour routes announced here; 280 has been promoted to an actual freeway for the duration, and let’s hope they bump up the speed limit on 35E as well.

MPR also has a map on local road closures and detours here. The 10th Avenue bridge is closed, which would seem to add insult to injury.

Update: CNN has the video of the bridge collapsing. Video of morning news conferences here, including Governor Pawlenty discussing the bridge’s last inspection report. President Bush expected to speak on the matter around 10 AM.

Post your thoughts, observations, speculations about the disaster. This is the day when the recriminations begin, as well as the inevitable politicization of the tragedy, so we might as well get started.


Posted in   James_Lileks's blog | add new comment

What was known and when?

The big question is going to be, what did MNDOT know and when did they know it?

It sounds like the collapsed bridge was known to have some problems, although nothing major enough to cause it to be shut down.

It also seems that many other bridges in the country have similar assessments.

This may be one of those events that results in positive change. We can only hope.

Jacob


The Bridge Collapse

The first thought that came to my mind was the ironworks support for this bridge. I wonder if the climate extremes (and inattention) might have contributed to the problem. I live in Michigan and we have MORE THAN 200 bridges in various states of disrepair that it's only a matter of time before the same thing happens here. Our Democrat Governess wants to raise the STATE gas tax (yes, we have a HUGE state tax on gasoline) in order to start addressing this horrendous problem. It aint goin' away and raising taxes in THIS dying state is not going to get the job done.

Hang in there, folks. Our thoughts and prayers are with you - as yours will be with us before too long.

~(Ä)~


Looking at the video of the

Looking at the video of the collapse on YouTube you can see something that might be quite amazing starting at about 35 seconds in after the girl that crosses starts to walk back. On the fallen section of the bridge it looks like someone is walking/running from the north side toward the south. Is this a construction worker who survived the fall? Did someone get out of their car that quickly? Amazing. I lived 5 blocks from this bridge the entire time I was at the U and I agree with James about the view and about the time it will take for people to remember the bridge just for the view. Awful.


http://video.google.com/video

Looks like someone survived the fall and is walking on the fallen section from north to south starting at about 35 seconds into this video. Absolutely amazing. You're right, James, I'm going to miss this view terribly.


It's all Zola Budd's fault!

It's all Zola Budd's fault!


35 W bridge

Watching the coverage last night, I was very proud of the reaction of all the citizens and emergency personnel who reacted so quickly to this stunning disaster. The numbers of people who showed up not just to gawk, but to help was heartlifting. The fact that the death toll isn't much, much higher is amazing to me. This accident happened within a stone's throw of at least two of the best Trauma Units in the world, which means that those with a chance to survive, most likely will. This realization also made me very proud of my city.

I'm going to hang on to this feeling of pride as long as I can, as I know the disgusting behavior that is sure to follow; the politicization, the finger pointing, the pretending that someone, somewhere knew this was iminent and did nothing to prevent it...

I don't want to see the ugliness of those who may try to score points off of this tragedy. I just want to remember the way I felt seeing all those who were willing to help.


2 years? I don't buy it.

The tendency of the fringe of humaity to politicize this is inevitable but doesn't need to be tolerated by those with their eye on the ball.

As I watch the coverage and hear the plans and accomodations, I look to be bouyed by the people around us who create and implement systems and plans that help the people invovlved, whether they be close to those lost, or need a better way to get to work, or need to get an undamaged car from one of still-standing spans.

Should it really take 2 or 3 years to put up a brand new shiny bridge, like we're being told, I'll be woefully disappointed.


The lefty nutjobbery has

The lefty nutjobbery has already started:

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2007/08/leftist_dementia_blaming_bush.html

The most amazing thing to me is that this is the first time in history that gravity has broken steel! Rosie would have the answer why, I'm sure...


INSIDE JOB!

How long will it be before some "Truthers" claim that it was an inside job perpetrated by the administration for nefarious purposes? That it must have been taken down by demolition charges because bridges don't just collapse?

I'm guessing about 30 seconds after the dust cleared, myself.


OK, octane boy, nip over to Wal-mart and get another, thanks

here's why it will take at least a year and a half with bells on and special deliveries by unicorns to get the bridge replaced, longer otherwise...

first, we have an active waterfront... barges, lock and dam, a railroad track that is not quite the main line, much busier than a delivery spur, the cedar avenue 4-lane bridge a spitwad's shot away from the freeway. heavy cross-traffic bridges on either end. lots of load on the banks. there will have to be lots of core samples and some thorough engineering for the supports. can't assume where the old supports were is any good any more.

next, we need to engineer a new bridge. even if somebody plugs numbers into a Standard Model of a box girder bridge, it takes time to correlate that with site engineering studies. that's handwork.

last I looked, the materials to build a whole new bridge of a quarter mile weren't in the back lot at menards. the only place you get structural steel beams any more is china or korea. bethlehem steel in erie, pa closed down something like 12 years ago. I previously noted that four to five years ago, MNDOT had to swallow hard and make running changes in the "unweave the weave" project where 35E and 694 align like a floor full of pick-up sticks because the clever Chinese had enough of their own construction underway that they couldn't get enough steel for both bridges over Labore and Edgerton roads.

and now you have to build it. even if you have everything in the pipeline, as they had at the Wabasha Bridge, it's taking years to put that one up.

not to mention the usual little oopsies you find when you start ANY non-trivial remodelling. remember the one they had on Wabasha, where the design was inadequate and the existing beams were not quite up to it, and they had to quick-rig a bunch of repairs that added almost a year and millions of bucks on the fly?

that's why bridges are not on the shelf at the big-box store. each one is unique, custom-built, and all the components are custom-fabricated.


politics

Watch for:

* DFL to use this as weapon against IR Gov. Pawlenty
* last session was all about roads and bridges and how to fund
* why should we help billionaire sports jerks build shiny new stadiums when we can't keep the bridges and roads together?
* tawdry appeals for federal $$$ to build the best-est biggest shiniest gold plated interstate 35 bridge in the world!
* do we want to give money to farmers to not grow things and for fake droughts, or do we want bridges not to fall down in major cities?
* gee...is MSP really just like NOLA now...they can't keep their levees intact...we can't keep a bridge up. so much for feeling superior.
* blame it on global warming somehow

The trite Star Trek plot device where "the guys" visit a planet in ruins from a civilization where the locals can't fix the machines and things have fallen to disrepair over millenia is not so unrealistic after all: this is how it starts.


The more things change . . .

In ancient Rome, one of the most powerful priests was the priest whose responsibility was appeasement of the malevolent spirits who might harm the bridges. The Romans had great engineering, but that didn’t stop them from hedging their bets a bit.

I’m actually surprised to the positive side that it took over two and half hours for the first such post to come up at Buzz.mn – a statement of the certainty that the Governor’s failure to maintain sufficiently high taxes caused the crash. It took another hour and a half till a post (possibly facetious, but these days who can tell?) blamed the Bush administration. It wasn’t until morning (6:01 am) that capitalism itself was hauled in as the culprit.

It could have been any number of things, but those drew the most fire as those are the "enemy" to so many today. Some admitted of the possibility that current construction may have had an effect. Of course no one suggested that the union laborers of the 1960s could have done a poor job. No one that I’ve seen has mentioned that changes to the bedrock beneath the pilings could be to blame.

Nearly everyone though, seems eager to discount the notion that the act might be intentional. There is, as yet, no statement taking credit. If this were simply practice for a bigger job, there wouldn’t necessarily be such a statement. Whether a group of misanthropes reads the works of Sayyid Qutb or those of Earth First, intentional destruction isn’t a stranger to public discourse. It’s probably for the best that the intentional angle is played down, as terrorists benefit from – well – terror. It would be foolish in the extreme, though, to ignore that possibility.

The destruction of an old bridge is a fitting metaphor for these times. As one wing of society works to invert much of the moral foundation of our culture, other institutions find themselves unable to cope. The few remaining connections between disparate parts of society find themselves overloaded as we cocoon more and more with our own, ever suspicious of the malevolent spirits who might destroy more bridges.

The building of a new bridge will take a long time, what with environmental impact statements, preferential bidding processes (or whatever they are calling affirmative action programs this week), the percentage for public art, the inevitable cry for a memorial aspect, the "truthers" who will insist that the bridge be made of unsnappable, unmeltable hyperkryptonite, ad nauseam.

Suggestion: open a ferry service ASAP and if someone acts the fool, set them adrift downstream. Iowa needs more fertilizer.


A comment from Back East

As someone who's never been to Minnesota and has no family or friends in the state, I can't say that I have any personal connection to this tragedy. At the same time, this grips us all.

My dad often jokes about the amazingly stupid things that people do in every day life by commenting "it's a wonder more bridges don't fall down." He's right. It is a wonder that these human creations stay up the way they do for as long as they do--and yet it's an even bigger wonder when they don't. Let's hope this doesn't turn out to be something that anyone could have foreseen. Let's hope that this was just a freak accident. And let's hope no one ever has to experience this kind of disaster again.

This is a catastrophe for the people of Minneapolis, and the hearts of those not in the area go out to you all. I'm sorry for those who've been lost and those who are suffering. I'm eternally grateful, however, for those who've reacted to help others. Would I have run to the bus? I don't know--but I could not be more thankful that there are those who would and do.

When I think about 9/11, I think about all of the people streaming out of the two towers, and the firemen and rescue workers who ran IN at the same time. And I weep in joy for those men and women.

Today, I felt the same tears in the corner of my eye as I read your comments on the guy who ran to the bus.

This is a singular tragedy--and out of tragedy there is always hope, and the most beautiful acts of selflessness. At the very least, we can be grateful for that.


The Ever-Present Fear

I must admit, the video of the bridge collapsing evoked a rather visceral fear response in me. I hate stopping my car on a bridge because I can't shake the worry that something is structurally wrong that all the architects, inspectors, etc. have missed. So to see it actually happen and watch all the cars plunging downward...it was grueling.

How long until the comment is made that more money should be allocated to repairing public roads? There probably won't be a suggestion that money should be diverted from special-interest projects and favorite causes, but just that MORE money should be directed to "keep our public safe."


Montreal and Minneapolis

I always thought that Montreal and Minneapolis had points in common, but not crumbling road infrastructures. :(

On a smaller scale, the same thing happened here but on a highway overpass. The government knew that there were structural weaknesses, yet did nothing about it till that overpass collapsed last fall (fortunately, with less casualties, but that's not the point).

There was a public inquiry about the global state of road infrastructures in Quebec, and the picture isn't pretty. :(

I hope that this is an isolated incident where Minnesota is concerned.


Frustrated with helicopter video camera operator

I flipped on MSNBC last night from Virginia when the news broke as the KARE helicopter was approaching from the north. They were still about two miles away, coming down the east side of the river.

The camera operator clearly had no idea where the 35W bridge was. The camera zoomed in on several places, trying to find the bridge. No, it's not Hennepin Avenue. No, it's not the St. Anthony Falls. No, it's not the Stone Arch Bridge. GAH!

I'm just surprised no one could clue the operator.

This comment is petty; but I was yelling at the TV because of the horror, and the camera was just an easy target.


BUZZ.MN IS GETTING SWAMPED WITH COMMENT SPAM

Just thought you ought to know, in case it had escaped your notice.


Ah, yes, cometh the guardians of the Right

And like the sun rising, we have the usual cons here to make sure:

1. No one blames Pawlenty, who is on CNN now as I speak covering his own posterior furiously. AND George W. Bush who used his address, ostensibly on the bridge tragedy, to bash the Dems for not supporting his spending proposals. But then his supporters have no shame, so why should he?

2. No one blames the GOP in general, a party that always puts private gain and spending on armaments ahead of public infrastructure (and if you're paying attention, civil engineers have been complaining about the neglect of bridges and tunnels for years to no avail)

3. No one thusly blames the peculiar form of capitalism which siphons off more tax money on incentives and subsidies to for-profit business (hey the right people make money off socialized capitalism so what's the problem?)

4. No one should talk about (gasp!) having to raise taxes to pay for needed infrastructure improvements.

Yes, your side is just as predictable. But if CLINTON were still president, oh, my! Then the blame would flow like water, wouldn't it?


In ancient Rome, one of the

In ancient Rome, one of the most powerful priests was the priest whose responsibility was appeasement of the malevolent spirits who might harm the bridges

This priest was the Pontifex Maximus, or "chief bridge builder". His title as senior priest of the Romans was eventually taken over centuries later by the Bishop of Rome, albeit in the rather abbreviated form "Pontiff".


The problem with the Interstate Highway Act...

...is that maintaining it is rather expensive.

Perhaps we can make sure that all gas tax monies actually go to road maintenance now instead of various "good for us" public transit black holes.


Road Salt will turn out to be the culprit

That's my guess, and is what was behind the collapse of a 30-year-old concrete bridge in Laval, Quebec, that killed five people in 2006. It gets into the fabric of the bridge, corrodes the reinforcing rods, rots the concrete, and the day-to-day stress, wear and tear of traffic does the rest.

The worst aspect is that there seems to be no clear way to predict when the problem is severe and when it's superficial. But given the hundreds (perhaps more?) of aging concrete and steel bridges and elevated roadways in areas that use salt to de-ice the roads, it may be time to give this problem overdue attention.


Mr_Lilacs, You're an idiot

First off are you bringing up factoids from ancient Rome to try and impress someone? I assure you that I am not impressed. Or are you actually suggesting that evil spirits are responsible?
Pawlenty, Bush, and the state legislature should get some of the blame. As should Ventura, Carlson, Clinton, and Bush 1.0. In America we have ignored our infrastructure for decades. This tragedy is the obvious and natural result. Just two weeks ago a giant sinkhole swallowed a St. Cloud street when the sewer pipes underground crumbled. These two cases in our state are not exceptions but rather the rules. We need to spend money upgrading these vital systems or face the costly (both economically and in lives) consequences for doing nothing. You can't refuse to raise taxes at the state level when our roads, sewers, and bridges are literally crumbling. Nationally you can't fund a costly war, maintain national infrastructure, and do hundreds of other things while handing out tax cuts.
Are you really suggesting, against all logic, that this was a terrorist attack? In Minneapolis? On an old bridge that was under construction? Really? And how, pray tell, was the job pulled off? Perhaps they had an inside man in the construction crew. Or maybe they were employing gremlins or bridge trolls. No, it must be that they learned how to control your evil bridge spirits for their nefarious purposes. Brilliant really. You small minded, illogical, uneducated, fear mongers are what is wrong with this country and the world. Not minorities, immigrants, and environmentalists as I assume the oh so witty cracks in your last paragraph imply.
And as for your knee slappingly funny "suggestion"; are you even from the area? A ferry from where and to where? The river isn't even wide enough to accommodate such a thing. You and your ilk are the ones that should be set adrift as you are already unmoored from reality.


I wish I could read the Star-Tribune

But it won't let me. Even though I'm logged in here, I can't read stories over there. And for some reason the login from here doesn't work over there. I get told the account is inactive.


Prayers for Minnesota

My family's thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Sometimes you just can't shouldn't foist blame on people. Sometimes bad things just happen.

Investigate so you will learn to notice a disaster before it happens, not to villify people.

This reminds me of the Nimitz Bridge collape in SF.

Perhaps I'm selfish, but I'm glad that you James, Gnat & wife were not on that bridge. I've grown rather fond of you and your family from afar.

I'm so sorry.


my next day

Exhausted after having been up all night updating a check-in page for my community of friends so folks would know who was accounted for, etc.

And, of course, posting a ton of links and twittering and all that.

Been so busy, I don't think it's sunk in.

Yeah, that's a gorgeous view there.


A wiki to share bridge collapse links

E-Democracy.Org has put up a wiki for folks to share links to photos, video, news, etc. at:

http://pages.e-democracy.org/35W

Steven Clift
E-Democracy.Org


Don't forget global warming!

Pawlenty ... Bush .. capitalism .. how can you leave out global warming? The recent heat wave must have weakened the bridge. Gaia is telling us something.


Anonymous...

got so drunk last night that he crapped himself. Clearly, this is the fault of Bush who hasn't put in place needed restrictions on CO2 emissions which cause larger yields for barley and thus cheaper and stronger beer.

Actually, Anonymous suffers from BDS.


The extreme defensiveness of

The extreme defensiveness of the anti-taxers here is telling.


oh, gawd, not 35E

that is a snakepit reconstruction project with detours all over. I'm glad I was able to buy in the north metro and move out of my apartment there in the nick of time. it's a different route almost every week trying to get to my church in north st. paul.

I have my arguments against many in the present power structure, but this isn't the time to wail until I turn blue. let's back off from fixing blame until we get the mess cleaned up, OK?

then we can get after the REAL killers. yes, Aliens. fold another layer on your tinfoil hats as we charge into battle... .

geez.


Saying goodbye..

The story of the person dieing in their car calling family to say goodbye hits home. My father died in a car accident last Febuary (on the 494 bridge) and it would have been nice to say goodbye. People should remember you don't get to choose when loved ones pass away and that it's best to use the time your given (ie right now) to tell them how you feel.
My heart and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones yesterday and the 100 or so that will lose loved ones today on our roads across the country.


Nick Coleman Advances the Meme

James-

Your Star Trib collegue Nick Coleman sure didn't waste any time dashing off his contribution to the "media meme" that this is all Somebody's Fault (long before we actually know that):

"This death and destruction was the result of incompetence or indifference.

In a word, it was avoidable.

That means it should never have happened. And that means that public anger will follow our sorrow as sure as night descended on the missing."

Got that? Coleman already knows the bridge collapse was due to sinister forces only crusading columnists and Democrats are fit to solve.

Add to that the almost immediate appearance of the loathsome Elwyn Tinklenberg on last night's coverage (I forget the channel), crowing "I told you so" and blaming it all on the state ignoring his cries from the wilderness.

It's true that disasters like this can bring out the best in us, but as we've seen already, they can also bring out the most ugly, tasteless, self-serving, petty, and shameless aspects of humanity as well.

Let's resist this pathetic hackery.


Disasters do bring out the best in us.

It's sad, but the best that some can do is to rise to shameleses pathetic hackery.


Road salt

Actually, that bridge had some special de-icing system that I've never seen explained very well anywhere. If it involved funky chemicals, though, one might wonder whether those ever seeped through to the steel.


Blame Mondale

My, what short memories we have.

Remember when Democrat Ted Mondale and the Met Council froze all highway work to stop people from moving to the 'burbs -- to combat the evils of "urban sprawl?" No bridge repairs funded in those days.

Remember when Democrats pushed through an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution to guarantee that road construction funding could NEVER exceed 60% of the state transportation budget, so they could be guaranteed NO LESS THAN 40% to fund idiot light rail on University Avenue? Sorry - no bridge funding.

Remember that it was Pawlenty and the GOP broke loose money to start highway projects again and balanced the state budget besides, by failing to fund every DFL pet project and special interest proposal?

A highway or a bridge takes years to design and build. There's a limited amount of money left after we play trains so obviously, we must prioritize. This bridge was deemed bad enough to rebuild in a few years but in hindsight, should have been moved up. Fine, it's a mistake of judgment. But put the blame where it belongs. Blaming today's governor for the fallout of social experimentation by yesterday's DFLers is obscene.

Joe Doakes, Como Park, Saint Paul
.


Nick Coleman's hackery

I don't think there is a single subject in the world that Nick Coleman can't ruin by lowering the tone of the debate, misrepresenting facts, taking things out of context, or politicizing things. Words cannot decribe the contempt that I have for the Strib for employing this hack.


Well said....

James,

Well said about the political agenda thing. I completely agree.

Its way too early to start battling politics, especially since there are still people missing.


I am waiting for the moment

I am waiting for the moment when some certifiable internet kook attempts to demonstrate that dynamite was used to blow up the bridge. You know, like the way that Cheney blew up the dykes in New Orleans or when the World Trade Center buildings fell or when that plane crashed into the Pentagon.


so brave!

so brave, anonymous! whip out some trite left wing crap without a name!

the point should be taken from the founding fathers: don't make it too easy to take people's money to do anything. it only leads to "the tragedy of the commons".

that being said...MN inspects bridge every year, 2x as much as the fed standard. and they still didn't sound the alarm.

meanwhile, both the MN state and our fed gov't have given themselves pay raises in the last sessions...whether per diem or salary. and just begin to count the fed and state "standard step" increases for all employees.

the education system has suceeded in it's goal at last: people are too stupid to make good decisions and demand quality decisions from their representatives in gov't. therefore, the only recourse is for for gov't. this is how it starts. welcome to the rise of totalitarianism!


Its called editing. I would

Its called editing. I would assume about 2-5 minutes went by before the lady "appears". Did you not think the dust cleared pretty quickly if it was real unedited video.


a bridge or a *bridge* or just another road

When I heard the 35W bridge collapsed, I couldn't immediately place it, though I use it regularly. It's not a landmark by any means. It hardly seems to be a "bridge" at all. When you're on it, you can't see the water and you have no sense of where the bridge ends or where it begins. It's just a stretch on the Interstate with a good skyline view. In order to mentally place the bridge, I could not call the structure to mind--rather I had to think about where 35W crosses the Mississippi. In a way, it makes it all the more surreal. This doesn't seem like the collapse of a gossamer structure suspended over a gorge. Rather it strikes me as the ground simply giving way beneath unsuspecting motorists. It certainly gives me greater respect for these engineering marvels.

As for politics, just as one can blame any lack of sufficient infrastructure funding on insufficient taxation, one can blame the expanding bureaucratic welfare state and poor prioritizing of limited tax resources. Bridges and other public infrastructure are falling apart and you want to subsidize what?! Moreover, a failure of this magnitude, at the most basic and fundamental level of governmental service, really reveals as petty and absurd folly the pie-in-the-sky crusade for hyper-expensive nanny-state dreams of such as "free" universal health care.


Thank You.

Thank you for your blog & your reporting. We're glad the Lileks' are safe. Our community is in a state of shock, disbelief & sorrow. Our community is also in a major cooperation & caring mode. Reading the comments of my fellow buzzmates is helpful. Tonight our family will gather together & read some of these entries aloud. It is a way to learn & enlarge our perspective. We'll continue to pray for all those who are dealing fisthand with loss & pain. We will pray also for those in the positions of authority who have to make decisions as to how to handle rescue efforts and so many other critical decisions. Many need our prayers right now and our love.


"welcome to the rise of

"welcome to the rise of totalitarianism!"

do you mean welcome to the drama club?


blame canada!

First, I should note there was no 'nimitz bridge' in SF. In Oakland there was the section of 'nimitz freeway' which collapsed and a section of the Bay Bridge between SF and Oakland which collapsed in the '89 Loma Prieta quake.

Second, for all the blame being assessed, does anyone recall who /actually/ has the power of the purse? If you don't like how the money's been spent for the last two decades, vote a new legistlature into office. If you can't name your county council rep, your state representatives, or your federal congressmen, you may want to refrain from laying blame.

Doesn't MNDOT have a budget for road/bridge repair? I mean, when they built the thing, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that they needed to set money aside for this. "What? We have to fix this thing occasionally? I thought it would take care of