First off, myself, friends and family are alright. Thank you for everyone who has been emailing and trying to call checking on us; cell reception has been iffy because of the massive influx of calls to the area. But it’s clear a number of people–how many is yet to be determined–are not alright. What I find most astounding is that the death and injury tolls aren’t higher. At rush hour traffic, it could have been even more devastating.
Any one who lives around Minneapolis knows this bridge and has, more than likely, driven on it a number of times. Everyone could immediately picture the location in their heads. It’s just a few blocks from my office downtown. I was meeting my uncle to play golf at the University of Minnesota golf course after work yesterday, but had forgotten my clubs at home. I ended up taking a different route to the course, otherwise my road would have been to take the 35W bridge.
You can’t dwell on that stuff or you’ll never get to sleep. Nevertheless, the whole event made sleep difficult and the TV didn’t offer any comforting opiates. All the local news stations were falling over themselves to repeat the same details. So was the BBC. Even when I flicked to Sportscenter, they were covering it. While not even in the same universe as 911 (and I will personally crotch kick the first official or journalist who calls the area around the bridge ‘Ground Zero’), there was still a similar feeling of helplessness and shock and being unable to get those pictures out of your mind. Everyone in town knows that bridge.
For most of us, life returned to normal this morning, with the exception of much longer traffic over the remaining bridges into town. Even coming in around 9:30, the 3rd Avenue bridge was backed up from end to end. As we waited bumper-to-bumper on the bridge, we had a view up the Mississippi where the collapse occured. News helicopters hovered and darted like dragonflies overhead. Everyone stared briefly and then sadly dropped their eyes down. Down to look at themselves on a very similar bridge over the same river.
Like I said, you can’t think on some things too long.