Memorials planned for bridge collapse anniversary

Two public events are planned for Friday, Aug. 1 to observe the one-year anniversary of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.

At 11 a.m., an interfaith prayer and memorial service will be held at the Basilica of St. Mary, 88 N. 17th St. Following the procession and invocation, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mayor R.T. Rybak will offer their reflections. Rev. Peg Chamberlin, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches, will also speak. Free parking will be available in the Minneapolis Community and Technical College parking ramp just east of the Basilica.

Later that afternoon, an outdoor ceremony will be held at Gold Medal Park at 10th Avenue South and 2nd Street South along the Mississippi River. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., a variety of artists will perform. At 5:30 p.m. a procession led by first responders and community leaders will walk to the Stone Arch Bridge (or viewing area on West River Parkway for shorter walk). The public is invited to join in the procession.

At 6:05 p.m. — the time that the bridge collapsed — a moment of silence will be observed, ending with the ringing of bells across Minneapolis and the state.

As a result of the ceremony at Gold Medal Park, West River Parkway will be closed during the proceedings from Portland Avenue to 13th Avenue South. Also 11th Avenue South will be closed from Washington Avenue to West River Parkway.

The bridge collapse took the lives of 13 people and injured 145. While the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) is still investigating the cause of the collapse, weakened gusset plates on the 40-year-old bridge likely played a role in the collapse, according to preliminary reports. The final NTSB report is expected soon.

All citizens are invited to attend the events that will remember the victims and honor the rescue workers and others who responded.