The I-35W Bridge Collapse


The I-35W Bridge Collapse

A Survivor's Account of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure

Kimberly J. Brown

264 pages
21 photographs, 1 map


July 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

July 2018


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

2019 Minnesota Book Award Finalist in Memoir & Creative Nonfiction

“A bridge shouldn’t just fall down,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said after the August 1, 2007, collapse of the Minneapolis I-35W eight-lane steel truss bridge, which killed 13 motorists, injured 145, and left a collective wound on the city’s psyche and infrastructure.

On her way to a soccer game with a fellow teammate, Kimberly J. Brown experienced the collapse firsthand, falling 114 feet in her teammate’s car to the Mississippi River. Although terrified, injured, and in shock, she survived. In this sobering memoir and exposé, Brown recounts her harrowing experience.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Brown became both an advocate for survivors and an unofficial whistle-blower about decaying infrastructure. She details her investigation and correspondence with Thornton Tomasetti engineers, including the false official account of the collapse and the eventual revelation of its real causes. In addition, she chronicles the ongoing decay of America’s bridges and the continuing challenges faced by leaders to address infrastructure problems across the country.

After nearly a decade of research into the collapse and her active and ongoing recovery from psychic and physical injuries, Brown shares her experience and answers the questions we should all be asking: Why did this bridge collapse? And what could have been done to prevent this tragedy?

Author Bio

Kimberly J. Brown is an IT technical writer. On August 1, 2007, she was one of the 180 people on the I-35W bridge when it collapsed. She is now an outspoken advocate for victims and survivors of the collapsed bridge. For more information about The I-35W Bridge Collapse, visit


"Amid her firsthand account of survival and recovery, Brown weaves in tales about her quest to learn the real reason the bridge fell. She read countless documents and inspection reports and consulted with bridge experts. She discovered that bent gusset plates and design error, the original reasons given for the collapse, weren't the full story. Rusted bearings and a failed superstructure contributed to the collapse. In case you don't know what that means, the IT technical writer boils down the complex subject of bridge construction and their components and presents them in terms that an average citizen can understand."—Tim Harlow, Star Tribune

"In her riveting memoir The I-35W Bridge Collapse: A Survivor's Account of American's Crumbling Infrastructure . . . Brown combines her personal story with clear technical explanations of how bridges are constructed and inspectors' reports that were not acted on."—Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities Pioneer Press

“All over the country people were shocked and horrified as we watched the bridge fall. Most of us went on with our lives, but Kimberly Brown’s first-person account as witness and survivor of the bridge collapse takes us deep into the emotional terrain of that day, and the years that followed; she also shares with her readers her investigation into the causes. A riveting story, powerfully told.”—Deborah Keenan, creative writing program faculty emeritus at Hamline University and author of Willow Room, Green Door: New and Selected Poems

“This is the most important book you will read this year. Kimberly Brown gets us by the collar and doesn’t let us turn away, writing with lyric power about her experience surviving the I-35W bridge collapse. Her urgent search for the truth behind the 2007 collapse is mirrored by her own collapse and a revelatory portrait of living with PTSD. . . . How she repairs and what she uncovers will, justly, keep you up at night.”—Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery

“Brown tells an honest and compelling story. . . . Throughout, Brown makes a passionate plea to lawmakers and citizens nationwide to pay attention to our country’s deteriorating bridges.”—Lynne Diebel, author of Crossing the Driftless 

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
The I-35W Bridge Collapse
Shall We Gather
Remember the 13


2019 Minnesota Book Award Finalist in Memoir & Creative Nonfiction

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