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8 years ago Saturday, the I-35W bridge collapsed


On Aug. 1, 2007, at 6:05 p.m., the I-35W bridge across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring 145 others.

The event is one of the worst manmade disasters in Minnesota history, as USA Today wrote.

A few blocks away, on the north end of Gold Medal Park, a memorial still lists their names.

There are 13 columns that come up from the ground, one for each of the people who died in the disaster, and all including a note about that person written by their family, the Star Tribune says.

The names of the 145 injured are etched into a stone wall, with an inscription that says: “Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life. Selfless actions and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.”

You can see a photo tour on John A. Weeks' website.

On Saturday night, Hennepin County says the Lowry Avenue bridge will be lit in remembrance of the victims.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded faulty support plates led to the collapse, CNN reported. Its replacement, the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls bridge, opened in September of 2008.

The disaster prompted a national discussion on the health of bridges – though a New York Times story in 2014 found, despite all the talk, little was actually done to fix decaying structures across the country.

There were also lawsuits, some the state filed against firms associated with building the bridge, to try to recoup expenses paid to victims from a state compensation fund; others were filed on behalf of victims and their families, against the company that inspected the bridge prior to its collapse.

The state settled its final lawsuit in November of 2012.

This past March, ABC did an hour-long feature on the collapse for its program "In an Instant," speaking with survivors and recreating some personal moments. You can watch the full episode here.

Issues with the memorial

The memorial could actually be the subject of a lawsuit filed by the City of Minneapolis.

MPR reported the cascade of water that's supposed to travel down the $1 million project isn't able to be turned on, as it erodes the bluff behind the monument. Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal was set to ask the City Council for permission to file a lawsuit against the firm that built it.

The council authorized the lawsuit to go forward, according to the July 10 proceedings.

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