Bridge Collapse Near Metrodome

The collapse of the I-35 bridge just eight blocks from the Metrodome will have an impact long after the cleanup from the tragedy is completed and will have a major impact on accessing the Metrodome during games.

The tragedy that resulted in the bridge collapse along Interstate 35-W had the eyes of the nation on Minneapolis Wednesday, as all the local stations interrupted regular broadcasts for the entire evening and the primary all-news channels – FOX News, CNN and MSNBC – devoted almost the entire programming night to covering the bridge collapse.

One of the components of the early decision-making process was to not postpone the scheduled baseball game between the Twins and the Royals, which got underway an hour after the horror just eight blocks away.

As city, state and federal officials try to make sense out of what happened, one of the reasons why Wednesday night's game was not postponed was the emergency officials didn't want 25,000 people flooding back onto adjacent roadways, much less the gawkers and lookie-loo's that would invariably go down to the site of the collapse.

As the recovery portion of the mission continues, the reality of the situation has begun to hit home as the light of day brings the sobering news that the bridge is not only gone, but will remain unusable for the foreseeable future.

Elwyn Tinklenberg, former Minnesota Transportation Commissioner, said the state has fallen well behind the rest of the country in repairing its transportation infrastructure and said the bridge collapse, while not expected, was likely inevitable at some location in the state because of the aging and decaying bridges and roadways in the area.

But the bridge collapse may have an enormous impact on the Vikings as well. The location of the collapse is very near the Metro East location that Zygi Wilf was exploring as an option for a new location for a Vikings stadium. With traffic closed to the area for at least a year if not more, the logistics of trying to build a stadium so near where the eventual replacement of the collapsed bridge could be a consideration in stadium plans.

It also creates a potential nightmare for traffic heading into and out of the Metrodome for future Twins and Vikings games in an area that is already immensely congested. As one of the two primary roadways (along with I-94) leading into and away from the Metrodome, traffic delays could become enormous as Vikings fans prepare to attend the preseason opener Aug. 9.

While attending a sporting event clearly pales in comparison to the loss of life and property resulting from the bridge collapse, it is going to be one of the ongoing nightmares that will keep this tragedy fresh in the minds of Minnesotans for months if not years to come.

* While Aug. 1 will be remembered by many as the date of the tragedy at the I-35W bridge collapse, it also marked the sixth anniversary of the tragic death of Vikings lineman Korey Stringer.
* Chester Taylor spoke Wednesday, a day after suffering an arm injury that he sustained in practice. Taylor, who had his arm hit by the helmet of safety Mike Doss, said he thought the arm was broken. X-rays came back negative and Taylor is expected to return within a few days. However, he is expected to miss the practice sessions with the Chiefs Friday and Saturday.
* Because the Vikings play the Chiefs in Week 3 of the regular season, coach Brad Childress said the plays they're going to see are going to be "pretty generic." * Ray Edwards continues to stand out in practice as he battles to win a starting defensive end position.
* Bryant McKinnie was activated Wednesday and took part in his first full practice.
* Randy Moss missed part of yesterday's practice for the Patriots with a tweaked hamstring.

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