Last Bridge Collapse Victim Is Found

Sections of the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge are clear of vehicles as a bicyclist passes by on University Avenue, Aug. 16, 2007, in Minneapolis. Scores of vehicles were removed from the bridge and the Mississippi River as debris removal and the search for missing victims continued following the Aug. 1 collapse that killed 13 people and injured about 100 others. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) AP

The body of the last person missing after an interstate bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul has been found.

Monday's recovery of the body of Gregory Jolstad brings the official casualty toll to 13 dead and about 100 injured.

Jolstad, nicknamed "Jolly," was on the construction crew that was resurfacing the bridge when it fell Aug. 1st during the evening rush hour. Jolstad, 45, was driving a skid loader, commonly known by the brand name Bobcat.

Divers had gone back in the water early Monday, and Jolstad's wife, Lisa Jolstad, said officials had vowed to continue until they found her husband.

Greg Jolstad was one of 18 construction workers on the bridge working for Progressive Contractors Inc. The other 17 survived the collapse, riding down the wreckage along with the tangle of vehicles and other debris. Seven of the bridge workers were hurt, but none were critically injured.

The recovery of the bodies from the bridge collapse was a slow and often dangerous job, complicated by bad weather, huge chunks of concrete and the murky waters of the Mississippi.

The human face of the tragedy has dominated the headlines – along with questions about why it happened, with inspections now going on around the nation of hundreds of bridges with similar designs.

The lost bridge was, however, a critical part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul infrastructure and officials have already taken the first steps towards replacing the span.

Minnesota Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lucy Kender announced on Aug. 13th that a preliminary design has been chosen for a replacement, a proposed 10-lane bridge.

Officials are hoping to have the new structure completed by the end of 2008.

As divers checked the river for bodies, cranes were removing vehicles. About 100 were on the structure when it fell.

Heavy equipment is also on site to remove debris from the river.
  • Scott Conroy On Twitter»

    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.

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