The Minneapolis law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben represents the families of several who were killed in the 35W Bridge Collapse, as well as many of the injured survivors. As a result of negotiations with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and Minnesota Department of Transportation, five bridge experts employed by the law firm were finally allowed near the bridge collapse site on Thursday, September 6, 2007.
“This could not have come too soon for the families involved since inspection of the bridge by experts in design and failure analysis was essential before the bridge structure was further demolished. Determining the true cause or causes of the collapse is a lengthy and complex process. There is no substitute for immediate factual investigation before critical evidence is dismantled and forever lost. Bridge experts appearing on behalf of the survivors included representatives of Weidlinger & Associates Consulting Engineers which in the past was involved in the investigation of the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, Marcy Pedestrian Bridge, Tropicana Hotel & Casino parking ramp, and numerous other catastrophic structural failures. Also present were representatives of Sam Schwartz, PLLC, and Barsom Consulting, Ltd., both of which are also internationally known for their expertise in fracture mechanics, failure analysis and bridge collapse. We are grateful for MnDOT’s cooperation and for its recognition of the fact that the bridge survivors are entitled to have their own independent evaluation of this tragedy.” —Jim Schwebel