Your Turn

Dear Minnesota

It's a cliche to call structural failures like the bridge collapse in Minnesota a "nightmare," but the truth is, there's almost no other way to describe it. There are certain things we take for granted about our structural world — skyscrapers, bridges, tunnels — and when these things fail, it makes everything concrete seem made of straw. It's particularly true when there's no extra risk assumed when you set out — no hurricane, earthquake, or other apparent catalyst — but simply the most normal of commutes suddenly turned upside down. It happens rarely; but when it does, it can't help but bring back other days, other commutes, other nightmares. There are parts of a landscape that are so essential they disappear on most days — it's only human to notice the view from a bridge, not the bridge itself. Boston, Philadelphia, New York are just a few of the places that have seen this infrastructure fail spectacularly, and tragically. I'm sure they're thinking about Minnesotans today, and we wondered, how do you recover psychologically from such a deep fissure in your daily world? If you're from one of these places, what is your advice to Minnesotans today? And of course, if you're from Minnesota, and the Interstate 35W bridge is part of your life, let us know how you're feeling today.

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While this not my view, there are those who see what happened differently:

"The collapse of a bridge in Minnesota counts as a tragedy to be sure. But I cannot help but wonder what point there is to President Bush addressing the nation about a relatively minor accident (more people die in traffic accidents)."

Taken from:
http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2007/08/overfederalizat.html

Sent by Paul | 12:07 PM | 8-2-2007

I feel the obvious is being overlooked here. This tragedy isn't about trying to place blame on who and what. We should be focused on the possibilities! The 35W corridor destroyed a livable, vibrant community back in the 1960s when it ripped through N Minneapolis to serve the needs of suburban commuters. Ever since freeways have failed to serve the needs of the citizens of Minneapolis all the while exposing them to pollution and destroying property values.

We should look seriously at the possibility of NOT rebuilding the freeway and focusing rebuilding the communities that were lost when the freeway was installed. The status quo has so far failed to create livable communities in N Minneapolis and contributed to an unsustainable suburban lifestyle. Why rebuild the failed status quo when the possibilities are so great?

Sent by MW | 1:12 PM | 8-2-2007

To MW: Don't you mean I-94 ripped through (mainly black) neighborhoods in north Minneapolis and the Rondo neighborhood of Saint Paul. The area of Minneapolis where I-35W goes through is and has primarily been student and professor housing for many, many years. It's mere blocks from the U of M campus and is home to many of the students who attend.

Moving on...
I wrote in to Minnesota Public Radio this morning, but don't know where the post ended up. I'll try again.

This event is not unlike what we can expect in the near future because of our current government's complete lack of support for its own infrastructure if it's not directly related to anti-terrorism.

I heard this morning on MSNBC that it is estimated that it would take around $2 trillion (that's with a "t-r") to do all the of bridge and road work that is needed across the country. Meanwhile, our government is spending an estimated $1.8 billion in Iraq and we've mainly accomplished decimating their infrastructure.

We as a nation must rise up and stop this misguided crusade that has hurt the poor around the world, including in our own country, through blatant negligence and misappropriation of funds.

Write to your congress people. Be active in your community. Turn the tide.

Sent by Jess D | 2:54 PM | 8-2-2007

I wonder how long we are going to keep discussing this?

Sent by Kristine | 3:20 PM | 8-3-2007

I used the 35W bridge daily. I avoided it during rush hour; fortuitously, as it now turns out. But I mourn the deaths, celebrate the courage of fellow Twin Citians, and look ahead to necessary change.

We have heard endlessly over the past days of the crumbling infrastructure of American highways and bridges. Also, of course, of the costs of the repairs; suddenly necessary, although their crumblings have been noted for years. My questions of those in Washington allocating the necessary funds is this: How much has the war in Iraq cost us thus far? Had those funds been channeled instead into necessary infrastructure repair, might we not have saved lives in Minneapolis, lives of young soldiers in Iraq, and endless heartbreak on all fronts? Is it perhaps time to look at "national priorities" and "homeland security," and realize that everyday lives of everyday Americans, including those in uniform and those left behind by calls to war, are better served by quality of life at home?

Sent by Ann McNattin | 4:50 PM | 8-3-2007

Kristine:

As long as we have to. Not talking about topics like this and others simply makes them worse or lets things continue.

It is extremely unfortunate that this country runs on a trend of only blood will cause change.

How many times have we heard that laws and regulations are "written in blood". It is all to often not until people die in spectacular ways that the government (local or federal) act.

Even relatively simple things like a traffic light at a busy intersection - people usually have to get in a nasty accident and die before they will even think about installing a light.

It should be telling by news industry phrases like "if it bleeds - it leads." They may be joking but really, they're not because this is often what happens.

Sent by Rachel Hendricks | 9:39 AM | 8-7-2007

hi....
let me tell you collapse of a building or a big structure is great view if you are far away from it.. otherwise its terrifying feeling.. as i am from new york i have seen many infrastructure fail spectacularly,..
these things will continue as long as its there .. we cant possibly do anything..so whats the point in discussing it..
=======================================
Lewis

Addiction Recovery Minnesota

Sent by lewis | 6:33 AM | 7-17-2008

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