A “remembrance garden” for I-35 memorial


A rendering of the proposed I-35 memorial

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak today unveiled a new plan for a memorial to the August 1, 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis.

A donation of $1.5 million by the lawyers who argued the settlement for victims of the crash has helped speed up what was for months a stalled project.

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The memorial was originally intended for Gold Medal Park, where many people gathered to gaze upon the wreckage of the bridge collapse, and to mourn their loved ones. However,"leasing issues" compelled the mayor's office to move the memorial across the river.

Mayor Rybak said he was committed to building the Remembrance Garden within budget, including an endowment for ongoing maintenance, and to completing it in time for a formal dedication on August 1, 2011, the four-year anniversary of the bridge collapse.

Here are some architectural details of the planned memorial, and their symbolic meanings:

The garden presents 13 I-beams which are illuminated during the evening. The names of the each of the people who lost their lives are engraved on opaque glass faces that cover the inside face of the I-beams.

Also included in the garden is a water wall element that frames the walkway space as one of the memorial's focal points.

The I-beams line an 81'-long linear plaza space with the water wall incorporated to one side. The water wall is very quiet and incorporates a sheet flow of water over its polished surface, offering a visual and auditory meditative focal point to the space. Names of all individuals who were on the bridge that day will be engraved into the surface of the wall, along with an inspirational quote and a dedication.

Benches bookend the linear plaza space, offering places to rest and contemplate the garden.

A path leads from the fountain to the bluff edge, where an observation deck allows views of the river and the bridge through the trees.

The linear dimension of the space (81') references the date of the bridge collapse -- 8/1.

The width of the space (13') references the 13 people who lost their lives.

The distance of the path to the overlook (65') references the time of the collapse -- 6:05 p.m.

The memorial will likely be the most expensive memorial ever erected in the state, including the $1 million World War II memorial installed on the State Capitol grounds in 2008. For reference, 6,255 American servicemen from Minnesota gave their lives for their country in World War II.