35W Bridge Collapse Recovery

Project Details

Capabilities: Demolition


The I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed and 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 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, US Navy, US Coast Guard, US Army COE, Federal Highway Administration and a large participation from other state agencies, contractors, and Federal OSHA on site daily.

The first phase of the project was to assist in the recovery of the remaining five missing people, 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 three operations to remove the debris. These include work within the river as well as 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 second phase was the removal of the bridge material. MNDOT released all work areas to Bolander by section 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.  The project was completed in 10 weeks coming in ahead of schedule and under budget having over 30,000 hours worked with out any lost time incidences.