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Evaluating the Effects of I-35W Bridge Collapse on Road-Users in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Region


  • Feng Xie
  • David Levinson

    () (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)


This study evaluates the effects of I-35W bridge collapse on road-users in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area. We adopted the seven-County travel demand model developed in previous research, re-calibrated it against July 2007 loop detector traffic data, and used this model to carry out an evaluation of economic loss incurred by increased travel delay in alternative scenarios before and after the bridge collapse. We concluded that the failure of the I-35W bridge resulted in an economic loss of $71,000 to $220,000 a day, depending on how flexible road-users in the system can adjust their trip destinations in response to the bridge closing. We also estimated that the major traffic restoration projects Mn/DOT has implemented in quick response to the bridge collapse can save road-users $9,500 to $17,500 a day. This translates into a benefit-cost ratio of 2.0-9.0, suggesting these projects are highly beneficiary in an economic sense. In this analysis,the use of a simplified, scaled-down travel demand model enabled us to carry out the analysis quickly and accurately, showing its contributions in transportation planning under situations such as emergency relief and comprehensive design.

Suggested Citation

  • Feng Xie & David Levinson, 2008. "Evaluating the Effects of I-35W Bridge Collapse on Road-Users in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Region," Working Papers 000043, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:i-35w-trb2009-bridgeregion

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    File Function: Second version, 2011
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Levinson & Feng Xie & Norah Oca, 2012. "Forecasting and Evaluating Network Growth," Networks and Spatial Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 239-262, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shanjiang Zhu & David Levinson, 2011. "Disruptions to Transportation Networks: A Review," Working Papers 000040, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.

    More about this item


    I-35W Bridge; Minnesota; Minneapolis; Economic Evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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