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On site in Minneapolis after collapse

by Frank Mungeam

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

Posted on August 3, 2007 at 3:51 PM

Updated Friday, May 24 at 11:13 AM

By David Krough, Producer

Made a trip to my hometown this weekend for a family reunion. Just happens to also be the site of the biggest news story in the country right now, the Minneapolis 35W bridge collapse.

Anyone who knows the area realizes that this is the main artery into downtown from about three different angles.

I traveled it dozens of times a week when I lived in St. Paul and at the University of Minnesota. I snuck in through a back route at around noon Friday, the site is directly across the river from the university, an area I know well from driving through backroads and delivery access points working for UM media.

Approaching the area, the sound of helicopters was deafening as local news, police and federal military type choppers took off and landed constantly.

Every access point to a close view of the recovery effort was police taped off. I finally managed to hike down near the river after a few tries.

People had thrown rose petals into the river as a memorial. It was quite a touching sight with the twisted wreckage in the background, as the petals slowly drifted down with the Mississippi current.

Throngs of people were all over around the scene, too. I overheard one person responding to their friend's complaint about the poor viewpoint: "Hey, it's a bridge disaster, not the Eiffel Tower."

True, but you can't look away. As a feat of sheer destruction, it's an awesome sight. One can't deny the fascination, it's basic human curiosity. And a terrible tragedy for those who lost loved ones.

Commuters here seem to be quite patient with it all - for now. But when the dust settles, the economic-transportation effects of the collapse will be the most lasting for locals trying to get from point A to point B.