Bridge Out  

Posted by Unknown

Here's what the bridge looked like before the disaster:


Here is after the collapse:


Further pictures can be seen here to get an idea of the extent of the damage.

If you tried to call yesterday evening and got a busy signal, this time it wasn't because we were online, but rather that phone lines - both cell and land - were overloaded with phone traffic out here. Thanks to Christina and Michael Slusser for helping to spread the word: Marilyn and I are okay, we were both at home when the 35W bridge over the Mississippi collapsed at 6:05 PM, near the end of rush hour. I wish I could say the same for everyone else involved with the disaster. At present, the death toll is at seven, with six in critical condition and over twenty injured. As James Lileks pointed out, one of the miraculous things about this event was that though a schoolbus full of children was on the bridge at the time of the collapse, none of them were seriously hurt. Another is that the severe thunderstorms that the news had been predicting would come through the city failed to materialize, so that rescue workers could continue without the added dangers and obstructions that would have presented. I haven't yet heard anything about why the bridge collapsed, aside from the fact that it wasn't an act of terrorism. There's a video on the subject here, if you're interested, though I haven't yet had the chance to watch it; I'm going to wait to try to see it until I can get over to the school to use their faster internet connection.

Again I've been reminded that we have no guarantees about how long we'll be here. Death can come suddenly, without warning, and really screw up all of your plans. It would have taken those seven people as much by surprise as it did me when my sister-in-law called out of the blue to ask if we were okay. I wasn't there yesterday afternoon, but it's a bridge I drove over every now and again, and sees a lot of major traffic through the area. I don't like to think about what those people must have experienced in their last moments - of the many ways a person can die, I've reserved a particular phobia about falling from a great height, and these people would have fallen the equivalent of several stories locked in their vehicles, to say nothing of those who went off the pavement into the river.

Pat's blog, American Kryptonite, summed things up well enough.

It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
- Ecclesiastes 7:2

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 02, 2007 at Thursday, August 02, 2007 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 comments

Glad to hear that you're both OK - we did try to call yesterday evening as soon as we heard, and got a busy signal. We figured that you were online - I hadn't even thought about the landlines being overloaded.

*hugs to you both*

10:28 AM

Thanks - I'm sorry we didn't call you guys, but I don't think the enormity of this really sank in until later (I didn't know it was being broadcast all over the country), and by the time I realized we should probably have been making an effort to contact more people, the phones locked up.

11:56 PM

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