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Last Updated: Monday, 13 August 2007, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Bridge death toll rises to nine
Rescuers at the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis
Divers have been searching the wreckage for 11 days
Rescuers have found a ninth body in Minneapolis at the scene of a collapsed bridge, raising the death toll to nine.

Divers are continuing to search for four people still missing after the eight-lane span bridge fell into the Mississippi river on 1 August.

Meanwhile, transport chiefs have said they have decided on a preliminary design for a replacement bridge.

Minnesota state authorities hope to begin clearing debris from the river later this week.

Emergency teams have been working for 11 days to recover bodies and vehicles from the wrecked Interstate 35W bridge - which was the city's busiest.

Three bodies were discovered over a two-day period last week, and divers pulled another from the river on Sunday.

I-35W BRIDGE 9340
Collapsed bridge - 03/08/2007
Eight-lane, steel-arch bridge
Built in 1967
Used by 140,000 cars a day

So far, about 44 vehicles of an estimated 100 that were on the bridge at the time of the collapse have been lifted from the ruins.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the investigation into what caused the disaster could take 18 months to complete.

Officials have decided to move quickly to replace the structure, approving a preliminary 10-lane design for a new bridge.

Spokeswoman Lucy Kender told the Associated Press that public comment on the proposed design would begin this week.

Previously, state officials had said they hoped to have the bridge rebuilt by the end of 2008.

The collapse has badly affected the transport system in Minneapolis.

A state highway has been converted into a freeway in a bid to reduce commuter traffic disruption around the city, and more buses have been laid on.





SEE ALSO
Long wait for US bridge inquiry
06 Aug 07 |  Americas
Bush visits collapsed bridge site
04 Aug 07 |  Americas
Congress to fund rebuilt bridge
04 Aug 07 |  Americas
Minnesota bridge collapse: Your accounts
02 Aug 07 |  Have Your Say

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