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Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

 
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:08 am
Whatever soz. Three bridges I drive over daily are under construction right now. Two of them are serious reconstructions - there is no backup, so they do on lane at a time.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:14 am
I tossed you a softball... all you had to do was say "yeah, I empathize..." You worrying as you cross bridges is so not comparable to parados' experience, cjhsa.

Anyway.

Amidst all the depressing stuff, cool story about the kid who helped bring that whole schoolbus of kids to safety:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/us/03bus.html?_r=1
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:21 am
I was in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. I can empathize. We all bring unique perspectives to A2K. I don't swing at softballs.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:27 am
More new info:

Quote:
Stanek made the announcement as he detailed plans for divers who were going to reenter the river sometime this morning in an attempt to recover more bodies and identify an estimated 60 or more vehicles still in the water. He said the number of vehicles could be more than 60, based on surveillance from the National Transportation Safety Board and sonar readings from divers.


http://www.startribune.com/10204/story/1341901.html

60 vehicles in the water and potentially as few as 13 deaths? (5 confirmed deaths so far, 8 missing.) Amazing.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:38 am
ehBeth wrote:
I'm still finding this story quite difficult.

There are/have been bigger/worse accidents, but this just seems so close, so possible, so very real to my life.

Maybe I'm not as detached as I thought years of dealing with accident 'stuff' had made me.



I think the closer to lived, familiar, reality something is for us, the harder it is to maintain, for example, professional detachment....or any of our tried, true (and probably quite reasonable and useful) denial structures.





Great that the death toll seems to be going down so far.


I recall the first news report I heard seemed to be saying "hundreds" of vehicles had gone down with the bridge.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:58 am
sozobe wrote:
60 vehicles in the water and potentially as few as 13 deaths? (5 confirmed deaths so far, 8 missing.) Amazing.

Sorry about the misplaced nerdiness, but my inner physicist forced me to crunch the numbers. Ignoring air resistance, a free fall of 64 feet should last about two seconds and accelerate the falling object to about 45 mph. If the bridge falls into the Mississippi, the water and the cars' suspension both independently cushion the fall. Add to this that it probably wasn't a totally free fall -- the bridge did offer a little resistence -- and the relatively large survival rate isn't totally miraculous anymore. But I can't deny I was surprised in the beginning, too.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 08:20 am
Interesting. I was wondering about that -- whether, if you have to make a trip from 64-foot bridge to water below, it's actually best to do so in a car. Suspension, seatbelts, padded seats, etc.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 08:24 am
sozobe wrote:
Interesting. I was wondering about that -- whether, if you have to make a trip from 64-foot bridge to water below, it's actually best to do so in a car. Suspension, seatbelts, padded seats, etc.

You probably are. But I assure you I'm not available for double blind tests. Even my devotion to science has limits. Smile
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 08:51 am
One of the things that this has revealed is that most cars nowadays have only POWER WINDOWS. Getting out isnt a matter of cranking the handle.
I see that someone makes "window punches" , did everyone have such devices in their cars? Or with their AC on, did everyone have their windows rolled up?
Thomas, G is slightly lower in Minneapolis(31.98725) so your speed would vary. :wink:
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 09:13 am
Carrying a hammer inside your car isn't a bad idea.
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TTH
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 09:14 am
I thought I was buying a window punch. It looked like what people told me it was suppose to and the guy at the store said it was. I tried it and it didn't work Evil or Very Mad
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 09:28 am
sozobe wrote:
Interesting. I was wondering about that -- whether, if you have to make a trip from 64-foot bridge to water below, it's actually best to do so in a car. Suspension, seatbelts, padded seats, etc.



Getting out is the thing I don't get.


How did so many do it successfully?


Sure, if you can open windows, you can get out....but doors often won't open because of the water pressure.





And..if they got out, in river water, you often drown because it is murky, and you can't tell from up, and the natural buoyancy of salt water doesn't work....people drown easily in rivers because they don't know up from down.


Ack, who cares how they did it (except for researching to help others) if they did it!!!
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 09:41 am
I understand that the back window is designed to be easier to pop out.


On the other hand, the expert advice is to go out the door once the car floods....

http://minnesotamatters.blogspot.com/2007/08/escaping-submerged-car-video.html

Disorientation and panic can be huge obstacles to overcome, however.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 09:43 am
The river is at low ebb this time of year -- the depth was 4 to 13 feet in that area.

It sounds like many people landed right on the concrete, too (as in, they could just step out -- if they were able -- right on to the freeway surface, and then make their way from there).

Minnesotans tend to be strong swimmers (land of 10,000 lakes and all of that) and so I wouldn't be surprised if they were better able to get themselves out than most, as a group.

It sounds like there were a lot of rescuers right away, just bystanders. My mom said there is a Red Cross headquarters of some kind right there. I've read lots of great stories about people just running up to help, and later long lines to give blood, and people providing water and food for rescuers, etc. Minneapolis is a good place.

But yeah, interested in more stories about that. Most of the survivor stories I've seen so far have been from people who weren't in the water.
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 10:01 am
The NY Times has a great graphic of the bridge along with some fantastic aerial photos.

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/us/20070803_BRIDGE_GRAPHIC.html#step1

I drive over a river of similar width and depth every day at least four times as it crisscrosses my path. You can bet I'm thinking about it as I do.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 12:28 pm
That is a good graphic, yeah.

They also have a story of someone whose car went into the water -- it says she got out but not HOW she got out, exactly.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/us/03survivor.html?hp
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 04:57 pm
I just looked at the graphic in the NYT by the Minn DOT, which I presume is the one linked before that I hadn't gotten to yet. That is really clear and useful.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 05:09 pm
So now that I understand where the joints/welds are, did I see somewhere that they were working on one of those? (that seems odd to do it with traffic, if so, but I don't know from zip on this; will have to reread stuff).

I haven't seen much change on google news, except that the search efforts are daunting because of visibility and currents; read somewhere that they'd screened that that were 50 or so cars under water.
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 06:12 pm
I wonder if much of this has to do with the counterfeit steel bolts we heard stories about in the media several years ago. I remember investigative stories talking about fake steel bolts being used in airplanes, cars, ships, overpasses and bridges, etc.

I'm betting that many local governments and corporations decided it was cheaper to take the chance on a failure rather than spend the money to detect and fix what might be a problem; and the dice has been rolled a few too many times.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 4 Aug, 2007 03:02 pm
Gus is back, whew.

So far nobody I know has been directly affected, except for my mom in an after-the-fact way.
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