The Minnesota Bridge I 35W Collapse of 2007 Case Study

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Case Study: The Minnesota Bridge/ I-35W Collapse of 2007


The Minnesota Bridge/ I-35W rumbled with high traffic during the rush hour when it dropped 60 feet down (or more) into Mississippi River in 2007, August 1st (Sander & Saulny, 2007). More than 50 vehicles went into the river with the passengers inside. According to Jim Clack from the Fire Department of Minneapolis, more than seven people got killed while an excess of sixty suffered injuries. The State patrol department was quoted as reporting 20 missing people (Sander & Saulny, 2007). Most people were rescued within one hour of the said collapse according to Jim Clack (Sander & Saulny, 2007). The 8 lane bridge served as the 35W interstate bridge serving the north-south route that passed through Minneapolis. The bridge was undergoing repairs when it collapsed. Witness testimony indicated that a jackhammer was at use on this bridge moments before it collapsed at around 6 PM (Sander & Saulny, 2007).

The bridge was constructed in 1967 and it collapsed in three areas (Sander & Saulny, 2007). The collapsed section of the bridge was approximately a thousand feet long and was under the steel truss structure support. The concrete deck, lights, and guard rails of the bridge were being repaired (Sander & Saulny, 2007). According to investigators, the bridge came down due to flaws in the design of the bridge (Waldjan, 2008). A thin metal plate that was too thin to serve the junction of a number of girders had been used. This bridge was a 1960s design and the bridge had lasted for forty years (Waldjan, 2008). The bridge, as many others would, had gained some weight during the period owing to the fact that workers has installed some concrete structures for the purpose of separating the westbound lanes from the eastbound lanes (Waldjan, 2008). This among other changes has strained the bridge on its weak areas. At the moment the bridge collapsed, crews had come along with heavy materials and equipment on the bridge deck for the repairs work (Waldjan, 2008).

What are at least 3 forms of technology that made or could have made a significant difference in saving lives, lessening suffering, and/or protecting property?

The 2007, August 1st collapse of the Minnesota Bridge/ I-35W killed 13 people and injured a total of 121 people (EMS World, 2008).

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The EMS (Emergency medical Services) response was led by the Medical center from Hennepin County (EMS World, 2008). The cooperation among the metro and first responders from the Federal and State partners was found to be outstanding (EMS World, 2008). The local players were equipped with adequate training in areas such as NIMS and had enough familiarity with the procedures and roles of every response team (EMS World, 2008). Plans from the EMS local team worked as anticipated including the incidence response Metro EMS plan and the application of mutual support (EMS World, 2008).

The EMS initial response was judged as sufficient and rapid. There were multiple EMS divisions established including the operations instituted on both river ends. Dispatch from EMS was also rolled out effectively (EMS World, 2008). EMS utilized with great success the ICS (Incident Command System). The newly implemented radio system with 800MHz capabilities was implemented following the 2002 evaluation that judged the previous system of communication during emergency situations wanting (EMS World, 2008). This radio system worked as anticipated and ensured that the response organizations were properly linked and informed. Other technologies including the video cameras on-site, municipal Wi-Fi, traffic management, and web-based GIS systems were used to facilitate and enhance the recovery and response efforts (EMS World, 2008).

Describe each of the 3 technologies (specific form or class of capabilities)

· 800 MHz radio system

The radio systems used for public safety including the radio systems used by the police, emergency medical service technicians, and firefighters during the Minnesota Bridge collapse response operates in various portions of 800MHz (FCC, n.d.). The radio system is made up of 806 MHz to 824 MHz spectrum band that is paired with the 851MHz to 869 MHz spectrum band (FCC, n.d.). These 800MHz radio systems are also used by private and commercial wireless radio systems. The inspiration behind the implementation of the 800MHz band reconfiguration radio system was due to the growing interference problems with the 800MHz communication system as a result of the heavy density of the commercial systems (FCC, n.d.). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the solid plan of band reconfiguration in July of 2004 (FCC, n.d.).

This plan was designed for the purpose of protecting first responders’ lives and the lives of other people working in the.....

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EMS World, (2008). The Good & Bad of the I-35 Collapse Response. Retrieved 2 March, 2019, from

FCC, (n.d.). 800 MHz Spectrum, Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Retrieved 2 March, 2019, from

FEMA, (2007). U.S. Fire Administration/Technical Report Series: I-35W Bridge Collapse and Response, I-35W Bridge Collapse and Response. Retrieved 2 March, 2019, from

IGI Global, (2019). What is Web-Based GIS? Retrieved 2 March, 2019, from https://www.igi-, (n.d). What is NIMS? Retrieved 2 March, 2019, from

Sander, L., & Saulny, S., (2007). Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis Kills at Least 7, The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March, 2019, from

Waldjan, M.L., (2008). Faulty Design Led to Minnesota Bridge Collapse, Inquiry Finds, The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March, 2019, from

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