Project Details

Client: MNDOT
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Services: Recovery, Removals, Demolition


On August 1st, 2007 the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis devastatingly collapsed and on August 4th, 2007 Bolander was contracted to remove the bridge components and piers to two feet below grade. This work was conducted under the supervision of the NTSB (National Transportation and Safety Board), MNDOT Bridge Department, and their Independent Engineers. There were many other authorities involved in the coordination of this work including the City of Minneapolis, State Highway Patrol, Hennepin County Sheriff, FBI, U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Army COE, Federal Highway Administration and a large participation from State, Contractor, and Federal OSHA on site daily.

The first phase of the project was to assist in the recovery of five victims that were missing, and removal of all the vehicles, eighty-eight cars, six semi-trucks and construction equipment and personal items from the bridge. This could only be done when allowed by the Navy, as they did not want to endanger divers in the water should the bridge move or shift. We simultaneously worked multiple operations for removing the bridge. These operations were the river operations, the North and South approaches. The river operations required the use of barges, boats, divers, and crews for rigging, separating, and hoisting the material. The material was then moved down river to a staging area.

The next phase was the removal of the bridge material. All work areas had to be released to us in writing from DOT before we could start. The areas were only released after the NTSB, WJE, and DOT had completed their initial investigation on each section. Bolander removed material from the approaches.  It was hauled off site and recycled or staged for future use by MNDOT. The work required the utilization of cranes, excavators, loaders, man lifts, and miscellaneous other tools in each of the three areas of operation. Once the debris was removed from the river the channel was dredged and cleared for use.

As crews dismantled the 2,000 foot long bridge, every piece was photographed, labeled and cataloged prior to cutting or moving. Pieces of the bridge where then sent to one of three places depending on their importance as evidence in the ongoing investigation, some going as far away as Washington. In less than three months, Bolander crews removed 4,000 tons of steel and 10,000 tons of concrete by working 12 hours per day, six days per week. Carl Bolander & Sons logged over 30,000 hours on the bridge project without a single lost time accident.