August 21, 2007

Final Collapse Victim Found, Bush To Visit Twin Cities

Divers recovered the last body from the wreckage of the St. Anthony Bridge, just shy of three weeks after the tragedy, completing the dark but necessary mission that will allow the removal of the bridge from the Mississippi River. Construction worker Greg "Jolly" Jolstad had plunged into the water in his Bobcat:

The remains of the last person missing after a bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River nearly three weeks ago have been found, authorities said Monday, bringing the official death toll to 13 and relief to the only family still awaiting word on a missing loved one.

Gregory Jolstad, nicknamed "Jolly," was on the construction crew that was resurfacing the bridge when it fell Aug. 1 during the evening rush hour. Mr. Jolstad, 45, was driving a skid loader, commonly known by the brand name Bobcat.

Divers had gone back in the water early Monday, and Mr. Jolstad's wife, Lisa Jolstad, had said officials vowed to continue until they found her husband.

The recovery, announced by the Hennepin County medical examiner, ends the search for bodies and allows construction crews to proceed with removing the collapsed pieces of the bridge.

The final death toll now sits at 13, which Twin Cities residents have quietly called a minor miracle. Most of us expected that number to be much higher, considering that the collapse occurred at rush hour. Less than 100 vehicles were involved, which was a smaller number than expected, and the center section of the bridge fell straight down, fortunately limiting the carnage. Quick thinking by rescue workers and the people on the bridge itself helped limit the tragedy.

The divers will now end their work and the salvage crews will begin theirs in earnest. To that end, Governor Tim Pawlenty has requested a federal declaration of a major disaster. That would free funds from Washington immediately to start the cleanup and rebuilding process. President Bush will travel to Minneapolis today specifically to get a new briefing on the bridge and the necessities of its replacement. If Bush is inclined to declare a major disaster, it will likely come today, so that the announcement can be made from the Twin Cities.


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Comments (8)

Posted by Cybrludite | August 21, 2007 6:54 AM

Do they have a list of everyone killed in the collapse? I'm still waiting to hear back from a friend of mine who relocated there after Katrina.

Posted by Cybrludite | August 21, 2007 7:27 AM

Nevermind. Found it at the paper's website. Looks like Kristina was not amongst those killed.

Posted by The Yell | August 21, 2007 7:49 AM

The federal government won't plan the new bridge; the federal government won't maintain the new bridge; the federal government won't choose the contractor--the state does. The state plans, builds, and maintains the bridge. The state has a surplus of $2 billion. Why is the rest of America paying for your bridge?

Fighting "pork" isn't just about stopping spending on things that aren't important at all. It also should be about not paying for important things that could easily be paid for by the responsible party.

I don't consider that extreme--extreme would be LENDING you the funding at 5.75%.

Posted by Captain Ed | August 21, 2007 7:54 AM

Because, as I have repeatedly stated, it's part of the federal highway system -- you know, the one the federal government imposed on the states about 50 years ago. This is I-35, which goes from Texas to Duluth.

We will be paying for the maintenance and part of the rebuilding costs, too.

Posted by The Yell | August 21, 2007 8:02 AM



Posted by The Yell | August 21, 2007 8:09 AM

Well wait a it's a federal highway why is MNDOT doing the planning?

Posted by Paul | August 21, 2007 9:50 AM

We (as in the country) could easily pay for this if Jim "Bike Path" Oberstar and his colleagues could forgo a few earmarks.

Posted by Jason | August 21, 2007 11:54 AM

"Well wait a it's a federal highway why is MNDOT doing the planning?"

Because that's the way the interstate highway system works. The fed provides the funding, but the states own the highways within their borders and control their planning, building and maintenance.

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