I-35 W bridge collapse victims settle with URS for $52.4 million

I-35W bridge collapse victims reach a settlement with URS.
I-35W bridge collapse victims reach a settlement with URS.

Engineering firm URS Corp. has agreed to pay victims of the I-35W bridge collapse $52.4 million, according to joint statements today from the company, and Jim Schwebel, the attorney representing the victims.

The company pointed out in it's own statement that it admitted to no fault or liability, and called the settlement the best way of avoiding a protracted legal fight.

Federal investigators placed blame for the collapse on poor engineering design, which was exacerbated by the excessive weight of construction materials placed on the bridge. Progressive Contractors Inc. (PCI), which is based in Saint Michel, was re-surfacing the bridge when it collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007.

A lawsuit filed by the victims was set for trial in April set for trial in April.

"While no amount of money can compensate the victims for their losses, it is gratifying to achieve a settlement that will allow for payment of their medical expenses, reimbursement of their lost income, and provide some measure of financial security to their lives," Schwebel said in the statement.

URS said the $52.4 million would be paid in full to more than 100 victims by the company's insurers. The victims accused URS of missing the warning signs of a collapse before the bridge plummeted into the Mississippi River.

Thirteen people died and 145 were injured in the collapse. We spoke with survivors and witnesses right afterward. And we explored the question of whom to blame in our Aug. 15, 2007 cover story.

The state has already paid $37 million to people injured and families of those who died.

Here's the security camera video of the collapse that shot around the world in the wake of the tragedy:

Check back for updates.

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