The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 18, 2013

Historical Society receives parts of failed bridge

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Parts of the collapsed Interstate 35W Bridge were being turned over Thursday to the Minnesota Historical Society for eventual public viewing.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is transferring four pieces to a Historical Society storage facility in St. Paul. Two of those pieces are gusset plates that investigators determined gave way under the road surface, leading to the downtown Minneapolis bridge's failure six years ago.

Also included are two large beams.

Senior curator Adam Scher told the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/17w6BDt ) the Historical Society felt the plates "were the most historical pieces (and) probably in many ways the missing pieces to telling this story."

"They really tell the story in the most tangible way of the collapse itself, especially since we have the gusset plates," Scher said.

The plates and the two beams come from "basically the same part of the bridge," Scher said, specifically the area that federal investigators identified as the most likely point of failure for the bridge. Thirteen people were killed and another 145 injured when the bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River on Aug. 1, 2007.

One steel beam, the one that had the two gusset plates attached, weighs 6,800 pounds. The other beam is about 2,400 pounds.

Scher said the Historical Society has yet to discuss when the pieces will go on exhibit at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

"It's a compelling story, an important chapter in Minnesota's history. That's the reason that we are preserving them," he said.

Following approval from the Legislature, the state was cleared to turn over pieces of the bridge to collapse survivors, loved ones who lost relatives, universities and civic groups as well as the Historical Society.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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