First stop is the south end of the Cedar Avenue Bridge, which runs parallel to the one that fell into the Mississippi. Here's an overhead view to give you an idea. The broken bridge is to the immediate left. My first vantage point wasn't the best, but at least I beat the Star Tribune photographer there. Following the quickly forming crowds, I got underneath Cedar Avenue where my kind belongs and took a picture of the south end of the bridge. Note the hose running off the fire hydrant. Its purpose was quickly revealed after we heard a small explosion, probably a gas or propane tank that burned a little too long. Smoke was billowing just north of there. For the civil engineers in the house, here's a close up of the actual break point.
Moving downstream, I got on top of Number 9 as the Cedar Avenue Bridge was closed to all traffic. As you can see, our emergency response is off the hook. Glad to see all that Homeland Security funding went to something worthwhile. Here's a Shaky close up of some cars floating in the water with tug boats coming in for the rescue. Farther along, we see the remnants that didn't make it to the waterline. Poking my head over the other side of the foot bridge, I saw large patches of oil on the River. For perspective, keep in mind that picture was shot from 40 feet up and my camera maxes out at 4x zoom.
Number 9 being so crowded even the bike cops had trouble getting through, I continued north to get a shot of the other end of the bridge. Slinking through the frat housing, I got to the underside of Cedar Avenue again. The police were still cordoning off the area. Look closely at that last one and you'll notice a white hatchback very much not parallel with the road I'm on. That'd be part of the southbound lane of the 35W bridge, now snapped back to a 30º angle. A little farther south, you'll see the northbound lane, also snapped back if you consider direction of travel. Again, a close up for your perusal.
The cops were getting a little annoyed at our presence, so I headed back up to University Ave. Here we see the bridge to nowhere. Notice the southbound lane collapsed backwards as mention earlier. It looked like there were more civilians on this end of the bridge, seeing as most likely the dead or dying were far below. Careful examination of this shot of people milling around will prove this took place in Minnesota (no, not the guy wearing the Gophers hockey shirt). Bricks will be shat.
The ride home was soon interrupted by a veritable parade of emergency vehicles. I must have seen two dozen police pickups towing speed boats from every adjacent county and a few beyond that. If this catastrophe has taught me anything, it's the knowledge that when the shit hits the fan, Minnesota stands ready to mop it up.