A bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed on Friday morning, only hours before Biden was due to visit the city to promote his infrastructure bill.
The Fern Hollow Bridge, a “major artery” into Pittsburgh, collapsed around 6:50 on Friday morning, with a number of vehicles, including a city bus, being on the bridge when it fell. Darryl Jones, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief, confirmed that there were 10 injuries from the incident, including first responders who slipped and fell during the rescue.
Responders had to rappel down between 100 and 150 ft in order to bring out those who were trapped in their vehicles. Three people with injuries were transported to the hospital, but none of the injuries were life-threatening, Jones confirmed.
— Pittsburgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) January 28, 2022
The Forbes Ave bridge over #frickpark in #pittsburgh collapsed at about 6am. Several vehicles and a bus on the bridge. No injuries reported yet. Strong smell of natural gas. Avoid the area #pittsburghbridgecollapse pic.twitter.com/ykkE4YjiiX
— Greg Barnhisel (@gbarnhisel) January 28, 2022
“I’ve driven across this bridge thousands of times and it’s surreal,” Lt Governor John Fetterman told CNN, who was on the scene. “The entire span of the bridge has collapsed into the park and into the walking trail below,” adding that he was “speechless” at the sight of it.
Been at the scene of the bridge collapse since earlier this morning.
So thankful to the first responders + to hear from them that there are no reported fatalities. pic.twitter.com/0VEE0osGJd
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) January 28, 2022
Ironically, the bridge collapse has come hours before Joe Biden was due to arrive in Pittsburgh to tout his infrastructure bill, which would see $27 billion being dispersed across the country, and $1.63 billion handed out to Pennsylvania.
“This is a horrible way to underscore just how critical our infrastructure needs are in this country,” Fetterman said. “This is a vital artery in the Pittsburgh area, and it literally just collapsed.”
According to Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, the bridge last inspected September 2021. Disturbingly, a now-viral tweet from December 2018 that has yet to be picked up by mainstream media outlets, shows the state of the bridge at the time. Twitter user Dr Kochanski highlighted that one of the main support beams of the bridge was “rusted through entirely.”
However, despite tagging the Pittsburgh 311 Response Center, who opened a service request, the problem was clearly not fixed, with the service request being closed at the time of writing. The bridge was
@Pgh311 I hope someone is keeping an eye on the underside of the Forbes Avenue bridge over Frick Park? One of the big “X” beams is rusted through entirely (and, yes, I see the cables, so it’s probably not a crisis). pic.twitter.com/UQScawPEGQ
— Dr. G Kochanski (@gpk320) December 29, 2018