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One year later: a look at the impacts of the I-35W bridge collapse

July 29, 2008

It's been one year since the I-35W bridge collapsed and Minnesotans have been subjected to a tidal wave of changes and emotions ever since. From altering commuting routes to allocating millions of transit dollars and dealing with bridge fears, all citizens have felt the impacts. University of Minnesota experts have analyzed all these issues and are available to comment:
Jerry Fruin, University of Minnesota applied economics professor
Fruin can discuss how the bridge collapse impacted the states transportation infrastructure and teh economy. With 5,000 trucks crossing the bridge each day when it still stood there were and still are some large accommodations that must be made. In Minneapolis, commuters arent the only motorists who took a hit. So have truckers who deliver goods to and from downtown, said Fruin.
Pat Nunnally, University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment research associate
Nunnally taught the class The River, the Bridge, the Community: Beyond the Headlines of the I-35W Bridge Collapse which tackled the big issues of the tragedy. He and his students analyzed everything from media coverage throughout the recovery and reconstruction efforts, to shifts in the political debate and even the risk to the water quality. Most interestingly, they discovered the significant prevalence of bridge fatigue in the minds of Minnesotans. People were tired hearing and talking about it and were just looking for ways to move forward, said Nunnally.
Bruce Cuthbert, University of Minnesota psychology professor
Cuthbert can discuss the fear of bridges that developed shortly after the collapse and what people today are feeling. He can explain the nature of people's fears, how they begin and how they go away.
Bruce Wollenberg, University of Minnesota electrical and computer engineering professor

Wollenberg was meeting in the West Bank Office Building on the evening of Aug. 1 and literally had a birds-eye view of the collapse. My eyes and ears told me that the bridge had collapsed, but my mind simply found this too amazing to really believe it for about 30 seconds, he said. That night I could not sleep and kept seeing the bridge collapse and those cars going over the south end of the bridge. 

To interview one of these experts, contact the University News Service, (612) 624-5551.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts, Institute on Environment, College of Science and Engineering

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