Just about everyone who worked to build the new Interstate Highway 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, knew that their project would never be "just a bridge."
It would never occupy the same category as thousands of other concrete and steel behemoths that millions of American drivers thoughtlessly cross every day.
On August 1, 2007, the deaths of 13 people and the injuries of 145 others made sure of that.
On that Wednesday evening, unforgettable live video showed cars and trucks tossed into the Mississippi River like toys amid the massive wreckage of the original I-35W bridge, which had somehow collapsed while thousands commuted home from work.
The tragedy left Americans wondering about the safety of bridges and tunnels in their hometowns. Later, the tragedy threw a world of attention on the new bridge that would be built in its place. The new bridge, completed in September 2008, is expected to stand for 100 years.
Although stylish curved piers and a bright white color mark a visual departure from its predecessor, it's what's baked into the bridge that makes it truly unusual.
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