The state of Minnesota closed a chapter on the Interstate 35W bridge collapse by reaching final settlements with all 179 eligible victims of the disaster in downtown Minneapolis two years ago.
The settlements ranged from $4,500 to each of five survivors to more than $2.2 million for a woman who required extensive therapy for brain damage. Five other settlements were worth over $1 million.
Susan Holden, the attorney who led the court-appointed panel administering the state’s $36.6 million compensation fund, said the settlements covered both survivors of the collapse and family members of those killed.
The Aug. 1, 2007, collapse of one of the state’s busiest bridges during the evening rush hour killed 13 people and injured 145.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded last November that the bridge collapsed because a crucial steel gusset plate connecting bridge beams was half as thick as it should have been, due to a flaw in the original design from the 1960s.
Experts hired by attorneys for a group of 117 survivors and families of victims dispute that. They contend a horizontal beam buckled first due to the heat that day, the heavy load of resurfacing materials on the bridge when it fell and poor maintenance. That theory gives them legal grounds for suing the consultants and contractors.
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