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Pittsburgh Bridge collapsed hours before visiting Biden infrastructure

PITTSBURGH – At least 10 people were injured after a bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh on Friday morning, hours before President Biden is scheduled to visit the city to discuss infrastructure.

The cause of the collapse is still unknown, which occurred around 6:45 a.m. Officials said there were no life-threatening injuries.

The 52-year-old bridge spans a wooded ravine in Frick Park on a steel frame, often crowded during the morning and evening rush hours with vehicle traffic to and from the eastern and suburbs of the city. But at the time of the collapse, Darryl Jones, the chief of the Pittsburgh fire brigade, said only three or four cars and a bus were on the bridge.

Mr Jones said the bridge collapse also caused a “major” gas leak that was shut down within half an hour, although it left a strong smell of natural gas in the area. Some residents living nearby were temporarily evacuated.

With light snow falling throughout the morning, Mr Jones described a “physical rescue” operation to reach people in the wooded ravine below the bridge. He said emergency responders poured into the crash site and used a “chain of chrysanthemums with their hands just grabbing people and pulling them up.”

Adam Brandolph, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh Port Authority, said in an email that the bus, which was heading east, was nearly passing the entire bridge when the structure began to collapse. There were two passengers on board along with the driver, he said, and no injuries were reported.

White House officials said in a statement that Mr. Biden had been briefed on the bridge collapse.

“The President is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time,” the statement said, adding that Biden’s trip would go ahead as planned and the administration said. will “keep in touch with officials on the ground regarding additional assistance we can provide. ”

The president was scheduled to visit Pittsburgh, commonly known as the City of Bridges, to talk about the importance of the infrastructure bill passed last fall. Local officials, standing in light snowfall in front of the collapsed bridge on Friday morning, have clearly drawn the connection.

“At the end of the day, it’s important that we get this funding, and we’re grateful to have the president here today,” said Ed Gainey, who became mayor of Pittsburgh earlier this month. know.

Rich Fitzgerald, executive director of Allegheny County, reiterated the urgent need for infrastructure funding, pointing out that just three years ago, part of a major roadway not far away was collapsed in a landslide.

The mayor said that the bridge was last inspected in September. Previous reports from 2011 to 2017 have listed the bridge in “bad” condition, and during a structural appraisal the bridge described the bridge as meeting “the minimum tolerable limit.” to be maintained as it is”.

Follow latest infrastructure report card prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers, 42% of the nation’s bridges are more than 50 years old, and 7.5% of bridges – more than 45,000 trees – are “considered structurally deficient, meaning they in ‘bad’ condition.”

In Allegheny County, which has the most bridges of any county in Pennsylvania, 176 of 1,583 state and local bridges are in poor condition, according to the state Department of Transportation. Another 965 are listed as in “fair” condition.

The bridge’s condition over Frick Park is untouched by many Pittsburghers, who regularly walk beneath its rusted span on the winding trails along Fern Hollow Creek. Greg Kochanski, a software engineer, was walking his dog under the bridge four years ago when he noticed that one of the X-beams that stabilize the bridge had rusted to the point that it had snapped off the pole. it is attached.

He reported this to the city in a tweet and, a few weeks later, he said, noticed that the rusted beam had been removed.

Mr Kochanski said on Friday morning: “I don’t really expect it to fall apart. “But no, it doesn’t surprise me.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/us/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-biden.html Pittsburgh Bridge collapsed hours before visiting Biden infrastructure

Fry Electronics Team

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