Minneapolis Bridge Recollections

I haven’t BLOGged in awhile because of some long travels and the usual catching up with higher priority aspects of life that inevitably follow. But my uncharacteristically silent interval hasn’t lacked eventful stories! I hope to share a few over the next few weeks as time and motivation permit. One will follow later, under a separate headline. Meanwhile…

We got back a little over a week ago from our automotive circumnavigation of Lake Superior, which was preceded by a trip through Dallas to Tyler to drop my son off at camp. Yes, I drove from Norman to Tyler to Norman to Duluth and beyond in four days! It was much like extended storm chase driving, with opportunities to experience and photograph amazing natural scenery likewise awaiting at the end of the long road. [Shots will be posted as time and opportunity permit. I’ve got over 14 GB of imagery from our cameras to browse, select from and process the best of.]

Superior was amazing. We were blessed with ideal weather most of the time — scattered cumulus or cirrus clouds under clean blue skies of northwest flow from the middle of Canada. When we did have rain, it was refreshing and welcome in an area that has been experiencing a lot of drought of late.

The I-35W bridge in Minneapolis that fell down yesterday evening? We had a memorable drive over it while returning to Norman from Duluth after the end of our Superior sojourn. Then, as evidently was the case last night, the bridge was bottlenecked down to one lane each way with heavy traffic, as construction crews jackhammered the old roadbed. When we crept over in midafternoon traffic, right before rush hour, I remarked to Elke and Donna about how thick the white dust was (freshly pulverized pavement), as Elke admired the Minneapolis skyline off to the right. Some of that dust surely came back with us to Norman in the car’s air filter, because the crosswinds made the dust extremely dense for a few feet.

There were big trucks and plenty of cars applying their weight to the bridge (well, one side of it, anyway). What was to keep it from collapsing then, or at any other particular moment before or since, except when its obviously inherent structural flaw of some sort finally couldn’t support the collectively distributed mass of the bridge, vehicles and people anymore? It goes to show how things beyond your control — or even awareness — potentially can have grave consequences. For some, it did. Simply being in the wrong place and time, through no fault of one’s own, can be mortal. It could have been us; so we mourn those killed, pray for their friends and kin, and wish speedy healing for all those injured.


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