Pittsburgh Bridge Collapses, Human Chain Formed to Rescue Victims
A transit bus is one of the several vehicles trapped on a bridge that collapse in Pittsburgh early Friday morning.
According to police, the bridge collapsed around 7 a.m. Friday. That bridge is located on a major thoroughfare near a park in the heart of the city.
According to Pittsburgh Public Safety, at least 10 people were hurt, but no one suffered major injuries. In fact, the handful of people that were taken to the hospital suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Bystanders are helping rescue people trapped in their vehicles by forming a human chain to pull them to safety. Other rescue crews are on scene to pull those victims to higher ground.
According to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, this morning snowy weather may have helped prevent more injuries.
The bridge collapse happened just hours before President Joe Biden was scheduled to speak about infrastructure during an appearance in Pittsburgh. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says officials in his department are working with Pennsylvania officials to assist with their rescue and recovery efforts.
According to the Associated Press's report of the collapse, the 52-year-old steel bridge, which carries around 14,500 vehicles a day, has been highlighted in the past for its poor condition.
A September 2019 inspection of the city-owned bridge revealed the deck and superstructure to be in poor condition, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Bridge Inventory. A spreadsheet on the state Department of Transportation website listed the bridge’s overall condition as poor, which, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, means “deterioration of primary structural elements has advanced.”
Pittsburgh officials have been calling for federal infrastructure funding for years. Now, this situation along with the President's visit has them stepping up those calls.
Infrastructure needs in Pennsylvania are critical. According to ABC News Congressional reporter Rachel Scott:
This bridge collapse is a stark reminder of the infrastructure needs in Louisiana. Just last week, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that the state would receive $1 billion in federal funds to repair and replace aging and failing bridges. In a press release by the Governor's Office, both Governor Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson both emphasized the need to begin those projects as quickly as possible.
"Louisiana has the third largest bridge infrastructure in the nation when the number of bridges and bridge size is accounted for," the press release issued by the Governor's Office said. "Currently, there are 7,846 state owned bridges, with 795 needing major rehabilitation or replacement, and 4,736 locally owned bridges, with 793 in need of rehabilitation or replacement."
“This new federal investment comes at the right time as many of our bridges, including those on the interstate system, are 45 to 65 years old,” Dr. Wilson said in that release. “The number of bridges falling into poor condition is expected to increase greatly in the coming years and this funding will allow us to make necessary improvements before these bridges deteriorate to the point of closure."
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