MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The Minneapolis bridge that collapsed last week had a long litany of engineering warnings that it was unsafe, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said Wednesday.
As early as 1996, state bridge inspectors warned in reports reviewed by the newspaper a pier supporting steel spans had tilted to the north, and wrote: "As this will not be repaired in the near future. This area should be closely inspected!"
Inspectors also warned the Interstate 35W bridge had "severe" and "extensive" corrosion of its beams and trusses, "widespread cracking" in spans and missing or broken bolts.
"Things can change day to day," Roberto Ballarini, a civil engineering professor at the University of Minnesota told the newspaper. "A crack could grow very little for a year ... (and it) could grow 10 times longer overnight. You see that in your windshield."
During last Wednesday's afternoon rush hour, the bridge buckled, dropping vehicles into the Mississippi River.
Five people were killed, five are in critical condition and eight people remain missing.
Wednesday morning, U.S. Navy divers joined local divers and began looking for debris and the missing people, KARE-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul reported.