Remembering the tragedy on the 35W Bridge

Posted August 2, 2017


August 1 marked the 10th anniversary of the collapse of the 35W bridge in Minneapolis.  The staff from the Lignite Energy Council (LEC) noted that even miles away, the bridge collapse was felt all the way to North Dakota.  The LEC felt that a good way to honor the survivors and victims was to share their remembrances from that day.  Many of the LEC staff shared a sense of pride knowing the new bridge was constructed using North Dakota coal fly ash.


Dave: I could not believe the extreme decimation of such an important transportation structure collapsing into the Mississippi river. The horrific video and pictures distributed by media was extremely somber. I felt a great sense of pride that Minnesota DOT was using a ND Coal by-product because of its beneficial properties to rebuild such an enormous important MN structure.

Steve: My family was in the Metrodome watching the Twins play…unaware the bridge had fallen into the Mississippi River just a few blocks away. My sister Janet was in Mandan watching my dad and when she heard the news, she kept trying to call us at the hotel. When the game ended, the PA announced what had happened and told people what roads to take to get home. We walked back to our hotel – the Normandy – and saw that we had something like 30 messages, all from my sister. She obviously was relieved to hear that we were fine. The next morning we walked to the offices of a business associate and looked at the wreckage from their vantage point about 30 stories high.

Kay: I remember panicking that we couldn’t get ahold of my brother who took that road/bridge home from work every day. All the cell towers were overflowing and calls wouldn’t go through. Turned out by some twist of fate he had to go a different route for some reason and it literally saved him.

Jason: When the I35 Bridged collapsed, I was working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC—which is very sensitive to the potential of terrorism.  So, in the chaos right after its collapse, there was uncertainty as to whether or not it may have been terrorism.  My response was more personal, however, because I have an aunt who drove over that bridge twice a day for work and so my first thoughts went to her—she was not injured, but just last year she drove us to the bridge and told us about the collapse from her perspective.

Marie: I heard about the I35 Bridge collapsing on the news and then calling my niece who lived in Roseville to see if she and her brother were okay. She said my nephew drove it to work. If I remember, it was then that many bridges were then being inspected.