Today we crossed the new 35W bridge in Minneapolis for the first time. It’s been a week since the bridge opened; just over a year since the old one collapsed.
I remember the day the bridge collapsed, thinking, “It couldn’t really have happened, could it?” as we so often do when tragedies occur.
But it did, and now it’s been rebuilt, with a memorial planned near the site along the Minneapolis riverfront.
And so today, a little because it was a good route to take, and a little because of curiosity, I talked to my kids about the bridge collapse, and told them that we’d be driving over the new bridge. They are still young enough that the significance missed them, and they said, “OK, Mom,” and went right back to counting buses and airplanes and UPS trucks with the excitement of kids who rarely see these things in their rural life.
Traffic was blissfully quiet as we crossed the new span. I didn’t hold my breath, as I’ve heard of others doing as they crossed this new piece of pavement. I didn’t worry that this bridge would collapse, because it’s new and wide and strong, and there are so many older bridges that really are crumbling where I do say a prayer for safety as I speed across.
I did, however, think of the thirteen people who lost their lives on that August day, and of their families, and of the survivors of the bridge collapse, those who will forever have scars from it.
And then it was done. It took only a few seconds to cross the bridge, and now I can say I’ve done it. Why I think that’s important, I’m not sure. But it’s a milestone nonetheless.