Geo Week News

August 8, 2007

Forensic Laser Scanning Minnesota's I-35W Bridge Collapse

The FBI is helping the National Transportation Safety Board and state government document the wreckage of last week’s I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, MN, using 3D laser scanners owned by the Bureau. Engineering experts expect the Federal Highway Administration will use finite element analysis to explore possible failure modes. The geometry computed from each collapse scenario will then be compared with the laser scan data of the fallen bridge and with video records of the collapse, to identify the most likely cause of failure. We understand that, due to potential lawsuits, authorities are constrained from discussing this activity in detail at present – more as it becomes available.

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