A bridge too weak

Almost six months after the horrible collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, the finger of blame is being pointed at a design flaw-- gusset plates-- that was viewed early on as the likely culprit.

According to a report on CNN.com today, a Congressional official briefed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that Federal investigators have identified a design flaw as the cause of the collapse that killed 13 people on August 1st.

"The official... said that investigators found a design flaw in the bridge's gusset plates, which are the steel plates that tie steel beams together," reported CNN.com. "The official spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt an update being provided later Tuesday by the NTSB chairman, Mark V. Rosenker." Here at FleetOwner, I should note, we have not seen anything of that update as of 2:30 pm EST.

CNN.com also reported that Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters is expected to issue an advisory sometime today "urging states to check the gusset plates when modifications are made to a bridge -- such as changes to the weight of the bridge or adding a guardrail, said a federal official with knowledge of the plans."

We can all only hope that any bridge that needs inspecting in relation to that design flaw is checked over thoroughly posthaste.


The unbelievable aftermath (Photo: Aaron Becker/BBC)