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Minnesotans’ bond strengthens after collapse
Angela Carson, a graduate of the University of Minnesota who works as a public relations executive in the District, remembers getting caught in horrendous midday traffic last month on Minneapolis’ Interstate 35W bridge.
“I was surprised because they were shutting everything down to one lane, and I remember thinking that this is major; they must really have to do this work,” Miss Carson said of the repair work being done on the span.
A section of the bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed during rush-hour traffic Wednesday evening, killing at least four persons. Road crews were making repairs to the bridge when it buckled.
Miss Carson says she thinks the repair work, with its inconvenient lane closures, on the eight-lane span probably forced drivers to change their commuting routes — and that rerouting may have saved more lives when the I-35W bridge collapsed.
“In some way, now I’m thankful that [traffic] was down to one lane,” said Miss Carson, who was in the Minneapolis area last month to make arrangements with her parents for her Aug. 11 wedding to Capitol Hill staffer Edward Mills. She flies back to the region on Sunday.
The death toll was expected to rise as emergency personnel moved from a rescue to a recovery mission yesterday. An estimated 30 people, including one construction worker, were missing after about 50 vehicles plummeted into the Mississippi River.
At least 79 injured persons were taken to hospitals. Our condolences go out to grieving families.
In a scene undoubtedly played out in offices and elsewhere throughout this region of transients, the young social marketing executives at Hager Sharpe Inc. spent the day looking for news updates, contacting friends and family and checking on each other.
She added that “when something like that happens, it’s good to have someone around who knows the lay of the land.”
The pair decided that the tragedy of the collapse was probably minimized by the weather. They said that many commuters leave work earlier in the afternoon during summer because the season is so short.
“An hour earlier, [the bridge collapse] would have been a whole lot worse. It’s nothing short of a miracle that only four people were killed,” Mr. Johnson said.
Miss Carson said she learned of the bridge collapse when a friend called to ask whether she had talked to her parents. She naturally assumed it was a problem with the wedding.
The first thing she did was call her father and brother, who were attending a Minnesota Twins baseball game at the Metrodome, which meant they would have to drive I-35W.
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