Last summer when there was the Minneapolis bridge collapse, I was thoroughly annoyed because I knew I had some really good photos of the bridge intact from underneath, with a focus on the steel, and I simply could not find them. Today I randomly stumbled across them, so here we go. From underneath, taken on the side where St. Anthony main is (and where I used to live just a few blocks from here!) and dated 24 March, 2003.
Examples of gusset plates, which have been blamed for the collapse, are clearly shown in all three images. I’m struck by how narrow the beams look for their length compared to something like a sturdy rail bridge, and how thin the gusset plates are at all such that I’m still having a hard time accepting that as the answer to “why the bridge fell down”… but at least I know now I was not crazy, I really did have these photos somewhere. And I want to see the finite element analysis that demonstrates the gusset plates as the culprit.