Minnesota bridge collapse foreshadowed by Ohio inspection?

| 5/14/2008

A bridge that nearly collapsed in Ohio 12 years ago had some of the same problems the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis displayed when it collapsed in August 2007.

The Minneapolis Tribune reported that it is unclear exactly what Minnesota Department of Transportation officials knew about the Ohio incident. Lawyers investigating the Minneapolis collapse were scheduled to report to lawmakers Tuesday, May 13.

When the Interstate 90 bridge over Ohio’s Grand River buckled and nearly collapsed 12 years ago, highway officials ordered a shutdown that lasted through five months of repairs.

Investigators determined what was then a unique cause for the failure: undersized and corroded gusset plates that were too thin to withstand an unusual load of construction vehicles and heavy equipment parked on the bridge that day.

The Tribune noted “eerily similar” factors in the I-35 bridge collapse, which killed 13 people and injured 145.

Now, survivors of the Minneapolis collapse are asking why Minnesota DOT officials didn’t learn lessons from the near disaster in Ohio years earlier.