Gusset Plate from 35W Bridge Collapse Now on Display at Mill City Museum

July 27, 2017 02:01 PM

A piece of the Interstate 35W bridge that's believed to have been one of the first to fail in the deadly 2007 bridge collapse is now on display at the Mill City Museum.

On Thursday, crews wheeled a 1,300-pound gusset plate into place for a display commemorating the 10th anniversary of the collapse. Adam Scher, senior curator with the Minnesota Historical Society, says it's the gusset plate the National Transportation Safety Board used in its investigation to determine what caused the collapse.

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The NTSB later determined the U-10 gusset plate was one of the first to fail in the collapse. Investigators determined the gusset plates were half the thickness they should have been to support the weight of the bridge and traffic. 

This is the first time this gusset plate has been on display for the public. Scher says the Historical Society worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to select pieces from the bridge for its permanent collection of artifacts from the bridge collapse.

The gusset plate is displayed in a public portion of the museum, along with a photo showing the collapsed bridge. Scher says seeing the plate and photo displayed next to each other brought a wave of emotion he hadn't experienced before. 

"It's one thing to see a photograph of that bridge. It's another to stand in front of a piece of it and actually have a sense of its power and presence," Scher said.

The Mill City Museum is about one mile away from the collapse site. Scher says he knows this will be an emotional display for visitors, especially those who are directly connected to the tragedy.

The gusset plate will be on display at Mill City Museum until August 30. After that, Scher says, the Historical Society hopes to include the gusset plate in its permanent display commemorating the collapse at the Minnesota History Center.

Credits

Amanda Theisen

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