Last edited June 2010
Resources on Minnesota Issues
Minneapolis Interstate 35W Bridge Collapse
This guide is compiled by staff at the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library on a topic of interest to Minnesota legislators. It is designed to provide an introduction to the topic, directing the user to a variety of sources, and is not intended to be exhaustive.
Citizens and government officials alike are concerned about the state of bridges in Minnesota after the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge into the Mississippi River on August 1st, 2007. Media accounts refer to MnDOT bridge inspection reports, Federal Highway Administration documents, and other documents that aren't always easily identifiable. This guide pulls together many of the reports being analyzed and discussed, along with general background information on bridge safety.
Librarians will be adding resources to the guide as the investigation continues and the issue unfolds.
This chronology outlines some of the significant events regarding the I-35W Bridge collapse and the efforts to build a new bridge:
August 1, 2007: Shortly after 6 pm, the I-35W Bridge collapses with over 80 motor vehicles on it at the time.
August 4, 2007: Mn/DOT issues a request for qualifications for a Design Build Contract for the I-35W Bridge replacement project. Congress authorizes about $250 million to rebuild the 35W bridge.
August 20, 2007: The body of the 13th and final victim of the I-35W Bridge collapse is recovered from the Mississippi River.
August 23, 2007: MnDOT releases the request for proposal for the new bridge over the Mississippi..
September 11, 2007: The Minnesota Legislature holds a special session; legislation passed includes several provisions related to the bridge collapse.
September 14, 2007: MnDOT receives technical proposals from four companies: Ames/Lunda, C.S. McCrossan, Flatiron/Manson and Walsh Construction/American Bridge.
September 18, 2007: MnDOT receives financial proposals.
October 5, 2007: City of Minneapolis passes resolution that grants approval of MnDOTs proposed bridge layout.
October 8, 2007: MnDOT awards new bridge contract to Flatiron/Manson.
October 15, 2007: Transportation Contingent Advisory Group gives MnDOT permission to spend an additional $60 million through 2/08. This amount is short of the $195 million requested.
October 16, 2007: MnDOT is sued over selection of winning bidder. The lawsuit alleges that the bidding process unfairly favored Flatiron/Manson. Suit requests that bridge construction be halted. (Sayer and Phillippi vs Minnesota Department of Transportation)
October 31, 2007: Judge rejects restraining order that would halt bridge construction. (Sayer and Phillippi vs Minnesota Department of Transportation)
November 1, 2007: Actual construction of new bridge begins.
November 29, 2007: Govenor and legislators announce the creation of "I-35W Emergency Hardship Relief Fund". This fund will provide $1 million in financial assistance to the victims of the 35W bridge collapse and their families. Victims and their families will be eligible for up to $10,000 in lost wages.
December 19, 2007: Minnesota Legislature's Joint Committee to Investigate the Bridge Collapse announces it has authorized the spending of up to $500,000 to the law firm Gray Plant Moody for an investigation into MnDOT and the I-35W Bridge collapse. The report is due in May.
January 11, 2008: The National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) on-going investigation uncovers an error in the original design process that resulted in undersized gusset plates on some of Bridge 9340's main trusses. On January 15, 2008, the board issues Safety Recommendation H-08-1, dealing with load capacity calculations for non-load-path-redundant steel truss bridges in the United States. These findings were released in the Federal Highway Administration's interim report, Adequacy of the U10 and L11 Gusset Plate Designs for the Minnesota Bridge No. 9340 (I-35W Over the Mississippi River).
March 5, 2008: The NTSB issues Structural Investigation Group Chairman Factual Report 08-015 (Materials Lab). On March 17, 2008, a NTSB update states that excess construction weight was placed above the earlier-reported too-thin gusset plates.
February 19, 2008: The Office of the Legislative Auditor releases an updated analysis of their 1997 highway spending report.
May 9, 2008: Governor Pawlenty signs a $38 million package to compensate bridge victims for their injuries and losses.
May 21, 2008: The Joint Committee to Investigate the Bridge Collapse releases their report, Investigative Report to Joint Committee to Investigate the I-35W Bridge Collapse.
September 18, 2008: The new bridge opens.
November 14, 2008: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issues their report.
Significant Internet Resources
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
Joint House Transportation Finance Division and Senate Transportation Budget and Policy Division Committee
- Watch archived hearings relating to the I-35W bridge.
- Documents provided to legislators at hearings on the bridge issue. (Supplied by MnDOT.)
"Bridge Collapse Reaction: Members Question Costs, Design of Potential Replacement". Session Weekly, August 17, 2007.
Special Session provisions related to the I-35W bridge: Laws of Minnesota 2007, First Special Session, Chapter 2, Article 2.
Minnesota Historical Society
35W Bridge Historic Resources
Federal Highway Administration (U.S. Department of Transportation)
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
NTSB Docket ID Number: HWY07MH024 - August 1, 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Contains list of NTSB documents associated with the bridge collapse investigation.)
Significant Books and Reports
Adequacy of the U10 and L11 Gusset Plate Designs for the Minnesota Bridge No. 9340 (I-35W Over the Mississippi River). Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration, Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, 2008. (TG25.M6 H65 2008)
"Aging Infrastructure: Is Neglected Maintenance Putting Americans in Danger?". CQ Researcher, September 28, 2007, p. 793-816.
Ballarini, Roberto, and Taichiro Okazaki. The Infamous Gusset Plates. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota [?], 2009. (TG25.M6 B35 2009)
Bridging the Gap: Restoring and Rebuilding the Nation's Bridges. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 2008.
Bridging the Mississippi: The New I-35W Bridge: Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Dedication Day 2008 Commemorative Book.) FIGG, 2008. (TG25.M6 B75 2008)
Highway Accident Report: Collapse of I-35W Highway Bridge Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 1, 2007. Washington DC: National Transportation Safety Report, 2008.
Economic Impacts of the I-35W Bridge Collapse. St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, 2009?
The End of the Road: Challenges of Funding Minnesota's Local Road and Bridge Network. St. Paul, Minn.: Bonestroo, 2007. (HE356.M6 E53 2007)
Fatigue Evaluation and Redundancy Analysis: Bridge 9340, I-35W Over Mississippi River. (Draft report). Minneapolis: URS Corporation, 2006 (TG25.M6 F38 2006). Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. January 2007 supplement.
Fracture Critical Bridge Inspection: In-Depth Report, Bridge #9340 (Squirt Bridge): I-35W Over the Mississippi River at Minneapolis, MN. St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, 2006. (TG25.M6 F85 2006)
Hartgen, David T. and Ravi K. Karanam. 17th Annual Report on the Performance of State Highway Systems (1984-2006). Los Angeles: Reason Foundation, 2008. (TE220 .H37 2008)
Highway Spending: a Program Evaluation Report. St. Paul: Office of the Legislative Auditor, 1997. (HE355 .H56 1997 ) Note: In August 2007, the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Bridge Collapse asked the Office of the Legislative Auditor to update this report. The resulting report, State Highways and Bridges, was published in February 2008.
I-35W Bridge Collapse and Repsonse: Minneapolis, Minnesota. U.S. Fire Administration/Technical Report Series, FEMA, 2008. (TG25.M6 S73 2008)
I-35W Bridge over the Mississippi River Collapse Investigation: Bridge no. 9340: Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Consultants report prepared by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates.) Oakdale, Minnesota: Minnesota Department of Transportation Bridge Office, 2008. (TG25.M6 I 254 2008)
Infrastructure 2008: A Competitive Advantage. Washington D.C.: Urban Land Institute, 2008. (HC79.C3 I54 2008)
Investigative Report to Joint Committee to Investigate the I-35W Bridge Collapse. Minneapolis: Gray Plant Moody, 2008. (TG25.M6 I25 2008)
Kirk, Robert S. and William J. Mallett. Highway Bridges: Conditions and the Federal/State Role. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2007.
LePatner, Barry B. Too Big to Fail: America's Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward. New York: Foster Publishing, 2010. (HE206.2 .L47 2010) This book addresses the I-35 bridge collapse in detail.
MnDOT Bridge Inspection Report (Bridge 9340). St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, 2005.
MnDOT Bridge Inspection Report (Bridge 9340). St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, 2006.
MnDOT Structure Inventory Report (Bridge 9340). St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, 2007.
National Bridge Inspection Standards Compliance Review Report. St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, Office of Bridges and Structures, 2008. (TG315 .N38 2008).
National Bridge Inventory (NBI): Minnesota. U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 2005. (Search tip: Display the text and search for "2759340".) Accompanying table codes will help interpret the data. See also: National Bridge Inventory (NBI).
O'Connell, Heather M., Robert J. Dexter, and Paul Bergson. Fatigue Evaluation of the Deck Truss of Bridge 9340. St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, Office of Research Services, 2001. (TG25.M6 O36 2001).
[Report on Expenditure of I-35W Bridge Special Compensation Appropriations]. St. Paul: Minnesota Management & Budget, 2009. (HJ7599 .R47 2009) (Mandated by: 2008 Minn. Laws Chap. 288 Sec. 6 Subd. 5)
Road User Cost Due to Unavailability of Interstate 35W Mississippi River Crossing at Minneapolis, Minnesota. St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, 2007. (TG25.M6 R63 2007).
Stambaugh, Hollis and Harold Cohen. I-35W Bridge Collapse and Response, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 1, 2007. Emmitsburg, Md. : Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, United States Fire Administration, National Fire Programs Division, 2008. (TG25.M6 S73 2008).
State Highways and Bridges. St. Paul: Office of the Legislative Auditor, 2008. (HE355.H562 2008) The Legislative Auditor was requested to update their 1997 report, Highway Spending, shortly after the 35W bridge collapsed.
Truss Bridges: Trunk Highway Bridges and Local Bridges. St. Paul: Minnesota Dept. of Transportation, 2008. (TG24.M6 T78 2008).
Wattson, Peter. Compensating Victims of Bridge Collapses Outside Minnesota. St. Paul, Senate Counsel, 2007.
- On August 4, 2007 both the United States House and Senate authorized about $250 million to rebuild the 35W bridge in H.R. 3311. (P.L. 110-56, signed by the President on August 6, 2007.)
- On September 11, 2007, the Minnesota Legislature held a special session. Several I-35W provisions were included in Chapter 2, Article 2 including $2 million provided for state matching funds needed to receive federal disaster assistance and a prohibition for insurance companies to state or imply that a policyholder filing a no-fault motor vehicle insurance claim related to the bridge collapse could result in non-renewal, cancellation, or premium increase.
- On May 9, 2008, Governor Pawlenty signs a $38 million package to compensate bridge victims for their injuries and losses in 2008 Minnesota Laws Chapter 288.
Additional Library Resources
For historical information, check the following codes in the Newspaper Clipping File and the Vertical File: