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Old 08-01-07, 08:27 PM   #1
solveg
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OT: Bicycle saved my life.

Today I sold a bike I had picked up that didn't fit me. I sold it for much more than I paid, and I was driving to my bicycle maintenance class tonight and realized it was a lucky day, so I stopped for a lottery ticket on the way there. Now, I used to do work for the lottery and was not allowed to play it, and I don't like the odds, but it really felt like a lucky day. I have those, sometimes. So it was very* uncharacteristic for me to do it.

So I continued to drive to my class, and a half mile in front of me, a main bridge on 35W totally collapsed into the river. I couldn't see the actual bridge where I was, but saw the smoke and the swarms of people running to the site. I decided that whatever happened, it was best for people to get out of there instead of going towards it, so I turned around, crossed the meridian and went north on the freeway.

I suppose I should have stayed to help, but I always lean towards making room for the professionals. Plus, I wasn't sure exactly* what had happened at that time. It didn't make the radio news until I was back in St. Paul.

So, the bicycle led to the lottery ticket, which postponed me just about the right amount of time to make up for 1/2 mile at 10-20 mph (rush hour traffic and Twins game).
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Old 08-01-07, 08:29 PM   #2
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solveg, you're the 2nd person I know from that area who was on their way to that bridge when it collapsed, which really puts some perspective on what a huge bridge this is. I'm SO glad you're ok, and hope everyone dear to you is too, as well as all the others here from that area.

Glad your instincts served you well.
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Old 08-01-07, 08:32 PM   #3
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Wow, makes you think about karma sometimes doesn't it. You do good and it is paid back at some point. I understand all the kids got out of the bus too. Terrible situation. Glad you did not get hurt and will be praying for the folks effected.
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Old 08-01-07, 08:48 PM   #4
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Well, Karmic-wise, it would have been better if I had not profited from the bike sale. But* it was a fair price for the bike... I just got it cheap. And I told her if anything horrible was wrong with it when she took it in for a tune up, to let me know. When I got to my bike class, someone was buying the same bike for literally twice as much as I charged, but it was all tuned up first.

But I did give a couple bottles of water to a college kid on a summer internship who I noticed was looking pretty hot on her assignment. That's good karma.

Who knows how all that balances out.

But this is a main* artery into the city. I just got home and didn't know it made national news. The local news is saying the FBI and black helicopters are on the scene, although the think it's a structural thing.

The school bus is OK??? That's very good.

That worst thing is that I think it took a long time to get help there. I didn't hear sirens for about 15 minutes after it happened, and they couldn't get near because we were packed in like sardines for miles.
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Old 08-01-07, 09:07 PM   #5
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This is a major tragedy!
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Old 08-01-07, 09:21 PM   #6
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Now they're talking about how our infrastructure may be rotten, but that doesn't make sense since they just closed the bridge to check it's infrastructure a few years ago. I was just passed the University exit going south...my windows were closed, but you'd think I would have heard something. I didn't hear a thing. The exit I was going to take was the one right after the river.

It's just sinking in to me what this means. 6 deaths and more expected. Dozens of injuries. 2 years to rebuild. Over 50 cars in the water.
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Old 08-01-07, 09:23 PM   #7
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Like solveg said, this is a MAIN artery for the twin cities metro area.

Solveg, I'm so glad you are okay, I hope the other TC metro members are okay.
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Old 08-01-07, 09:24 PM   #8
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Now they're talking about how our infrastructure may be rotten, but that doesn't make sense since they just closed the bridge to check it's infrastructure a few years ago. I was just passed the University exit going south...my windows were closed, but you'd think I would have heard something. I didn't hear a thing. The exit I was going to take was the one right after the river.

It's just sinking in to me what this means. 6 deaths and more expected. Dozens of injuries. 2 years to rebuild. Over 50 cars in the water.
I'm just glad you weren't on that bridge.....

I feel for the people and their families that were, but am still happy for you!
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Old 08-01-07, 09:27 PM   #9
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Is this the same bridge with the Fed Ex driver that was trapped or is this another one?
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Old 08-01-07, 09:27 PM   #10
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But this is a main* artery into the city. I just got home and didn't know it made national news.
Are you kidding??? An interstate bridge collapses in a big kinda way, while it's cram packed with cars...how is it not going to be national news???

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That worst thing is that I think it took a long time to get help there. I didn't hear sirens for about 15 minutes after it happened, and they couldn't get near because we were packed in like sardines for miles.
My first responder background is in wilderness situations, where there aren't any sirens nor any ambulances...just you and your skills and what you're carrying. What I learned in my training, although it wasn't ever an explicit part of the curriculum, is that knowledge is worth more than gear. An untrained person with the very finest first aid kit won't be able to do much, if anything, but a trained person without a first aid kit can make it up. Obviously you'd like to have the ambulances there as soon as possible, but in situations where easy access by EMS is not gonna happen, the people who are there do what they can, using the materials at hand, and it's often quite sufficient. It wouldn't greatly surprise me if there were a fair number of first responders of various kinds there today, helping others with improvised materials and most of all, knowledge. IOW, help was there long before the first ambulances arrived on the scene.
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Old 08-01-07, 09:47 PM   #11
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The people at the bike shop didn't know about it... and that was a good half hour later. On the way back, I only heard it on the local news on the radio. I was near the greensburg tornado, too, and was surprised it made the national news. It's not like these places are LA or New York. I just didn't think* about national news.

Yes, there were lots of people helping out it seems. Now it seems like it was a bad idea to turn around and get out of there. I should have stayed and helped. It's been a long time since I had first aid... oh well. Who knows what the right thing to do was. At that point, I thought there was a terrible accident or multi-car thing. I couldn't actually make out what had happened.

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Old 08-01-07, 11:29 PM   #12
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I was stuck in traffic on this bridge about 10 minutes before the collapse. I feel incredibly lucky.

My uncle's brother and his wife were driving on the bridge when it went down. They got out of the car in time, which ended up in the Mississippi.

I am worried about going in to work tomorrow; lots of my co-workers take 35W north to get home.
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Old 08-01-07, 11:44 PM   #13
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Solveg and dubstylee, glad you and yours are okay. My wife works within half a mile of there, but doesn't drive over it and was out of the area an hour and a half earlier.

I took this picture a few years earlier, looking southeast (downriver) at the bridge. Not sure if the host site allows remote hosting:

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Old 08-02-07, 12:17 AM   #14
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Is this the same bridge with the Fed Ex driver that was trapped or is this another one?
no that was here in california
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Old 08-02-07, 12:27 AM   #15
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Yeah, that was my old neighborhood 10 years ago when I lived in Dinkytown. Used to drive that exit everyday. Unbelievable.
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Old 08-02-07, 01:23 AM   #16
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solveg you were very lucky...

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Old 08-02-07, 01:44 AM   #17
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WOW! This is the first I have heard of this. I missed the news last night. Terrible.
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Old 08-02-07, 05:32 AM   #18
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Are you kidding??? An interstate bridge collapses in a big kinda way, while it's cram packed with cars...how is it not going to be national news???

Oh, and btw... as I was falling asleep I had the radio on, and the reporter said:

"Maybe it's just our midwest inferiority complex, but when I first found out about this I thought it might only get about 14 seconds on the national news. But this has been on the news everywhere. We haven't had this kind of coverage as a state since the flood of XXXX."

So it wasn't just that me that didn't realize that this would get such huge coverage.

I have seen two towns virtually wiped out by a tornado. One was a small town in Wisconsin called Siren, one was Greensburg, KS. When the Greensburg tornado hit, I didn't think of calling my family, because it never occurred to me that they would hear about it. When they finally got hold of me, they said it was all over the news. And it was... for days.

But when Siren got wiped out, a town of similar size, the news never got past the local area.

It's not always consistent which stories get lots of coverage, and usually the places that I live are pretty "off the radar".

On another note... I couldn't figure out why I didn't hear the bridge fall, but then I realized that when I was stuck in traffic I remember thinking it was starting to Thunderstorm, but it never did. Then, course, everything happened right away, so I didn't connect the two until last night. I also wonder why they say traffic was light. I remember traffic being really slow when it happened, which means that the bridge was pretty packed.
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Old 08-02-07, 05:44 AM   #19
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I was stuck in traffic on this bridge about 10 minutes before the collapse. I feel incredibly lucky.

My uncle's brother and his wife were driving on the bridge when it went down. They got out of the car in time, which ended up in the Mississippi.

I am worried about going in to work tomorrow; lots of my co-workers take 35W north to get home.

Good luck. I hope everyone you know is OK. Let us know... I mean, realistically, there's 4 main ways of getting out of the city.

There's lots of emails flying, group emails saying, "Everyone check in..." Although the odds would be against someone being on the bridge when it collapsed, the number of people passing over that bridge in the 15 minutes beforehand is huge. I've heard lots of stories similar to mine... couldn't get on the highway because of the traffic so they took a different bridge, got stuck talking to a vendor and got out of work late, etc. Everyone who came close to being on it is looking back and connecting dots, trying to find out what kept them from being on it.
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Old 08-02-07, 06:11 AM   #20
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thats unbelievable. it couldnt have worked out better for you.
i try to look at it like,life plays to my advantage.when the guy in front of me is doing 20 mph , in a 35 zone,i figure,god sent him to keep me from being in a bad predicament by a minute or 2.
your guardian angel wasnt asleep on the job. thats for sure.
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Old 08-02-07, 07:49 PM   #21
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If no one has said this tacky line yet, I guess it's my responsibility:

Looks like even if you didn't win the lottery, you still won with that ticket.




I think I need to take a shower now...
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Old 08-02-07, 08:37 PM   #22
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I just got home and didn't know it made national news. The local news is saying the FBI and black helicopters are on the scene, although the think it's a structural thing.
We were flying through Minneapolis/St. Paul last evening and landed there just about the time the bridge collapsed. A TV monitor in a store in the mall area at the airport had local channel 11 coverage on the bridge failure. After about half an hour the same screen suddenly had coverage from CNN.
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Old 08-02-07, 08:51 PM   #23
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I will add to my prayer list of thanks that you, Dubstylee, and his uncles family are alright. I don't believe in coincedences.

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Old 08-02-07, 09:14 PM   #24
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I will add to my prayer list of thanks that you, Dubstylee, and his uncles family are alright. I don't believe in coincedences.

Bill

Thanks! I've been doing a bit of thanking, myself...
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Old 08-03-07, 03:41 PM   #25
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Glad you're safe!
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