Meet Minneapolis, the official convention and visitors association of the city of Minneapolis, has issued a statement acknowledging the tragic collapse of the city’s 35W bridge that carried the main north-south highway through Minneapolis.
“In the aftermath of the tragic event that occurred in our city last week, and with those impacted still in our thoughts and prayers, Meet Minneapolis continues to welcome visitors and convention attendees to the city,” the statement read.
“None of our product was impacted,” says Greg Ortale, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis. “All of our hotels are up and fully operational, as is our convention center, our airport, and all of our attractions.” He also notes that the main routes leading into the city from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport remain unaffected by the tragedy, and that although the bridge was just a short distance from the Meet Minneapolis offices, no staff members were hurt.
Ortale says that alternate traffic routes have been set up, including a temporary highway that was constructed “almost immediately.” In addition, temporary park-and-ride locations have been established, and free commuter service is being provided to those who travel via the bridge daily.
Immediately following the collapse, the CVB posted a hotline number on its Web site for anyone in need of assistance finding hotel accommodations, including workers, friends, and family members coming into the area. The Web site also includes alternate highway routes and information about making donations to victims and families affected by the tragedy.
“We took a preemptive response in immediately assuring everyone that this has not affected airport routes or any of the essential inventory in the area, so we have not had direct inquiries from clients who booked business in the city,” says Ortale.
According to the state transportation department, the Minneapolis bridge was the state’s busiest, carrying an average of 140,000 vehicles a day. The Department of Transportation is sending $5 million to Minneapolis to help establish traffic routes, clean up debris, and repair the infrastructure.
For more information on alternate traffic routes, click here.