PITTSBURGH — A bridge collapsed early Friday in Pittsburgh, sending multiple vehicles into a ravine and leaving 10 people with minor injuries, WPXI reported.
The incident happened on Fern Hollow Bridge near Forbes and Braddock avenues hours before President Joe Biden was scheduled to visit the city to talk about infrastructure, according to officials and WPXI. The area is near Frick Park and at the border of Pittsburgh’s Point Breeze neighborhood, WPXI reported.
Update 8 p.m. EST Jan. 28: Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor told WPXI that it will likely take at least two years to rebuild Fern Hollow Bridge. Gov. Tom Wolf issued a disaster proclamation Friday night to ensure the bridge is quickly reconstructed, the news station reported.
“With the Fern Hollow Bridge seeing more than 14,000 cars daily, it’s critical that we act quickly to reconstruct it so that commerce can continue, and life is not interrupted,” said Gov. Wolf. “This declaration allows us to support the county in getting to work quickly, making funding available, and reducing red tape or other barriers to completion.”
I signed a proclamation of disaster emergency for Allegheny County in response to the collapse of Fern Hollow Bridge.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) January 29, 2022
This bridge is a major throughway for commuter traffic and the disaster declaration ensures quick response for reconstruction. https://t.co/iP5nO9ilFc
Biden said Friday that the bridge collapse at Frick Park was “simply unacceptable.” He added that Pennsylvania will get $1.6 billion to fix and repair bridges.
“The next time, we don’t need headlines saying someone was killed,” he said, according to WPXI. “We saw today when a bridge is in disrepair it can literally threaten lives. We’re going to rebuild that bridge.”
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy at scene of Friday’s bridge collapse in Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/tw3rtgsxXW— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) January 28, 2022
Update 4 p.m. EST Jan. 28: Search and rescue crews from Lancaster and Gettysburg traveled across the state to help try to find any potential victims of Friday’s bridge collapse. They brought dogs — a yellow lab and two shepherds — to find anyone who could be trapped. One of the dogs specializes in finding human remains, WPXI reported.
Three of the people hurt in the collapse and who needed to be taken to a hospital are still being treated are now listed in fair condition. One person was treated and released.
As of 3p.m., UPMC Presbyterian Hospital is treating 3 adult patients related to the bridge collapse in Frick Park. All are determined to be in fair condition. 1 additional patient was treated & released at UPMC Shadyside Hospital. We'll update w/ any new information as necessary.— UPMC (@UPMCnews) January 28, 2022
Update 3 p.m. EST Jan. 28: Biden said after seeing the wreckage of the Fern Hollow Bridge:
“It’s incredible. I mean, this is -- first of all, these guys deserve an incredible amount of credit going down here. And while this was going on, they tell me the gas leak was -- explain what you said to me about the noise,” Biden said, according to WPXI. “It’s astounding. You all realize -- I’ve been coming to Pittsburgh a long time and as a former Pennsylvanian. But I didn’t realize there are literally more bridges in Pittsburgh than in any other city in the world. Did you know? More than in Venice. I mean, I knew there are a lot of bridges. And we’re going to -- they’re going to fix them all. Not a joke. This is going to be a gigantic change. And there’s 43,000 nationwide. And we’re sending the money.”
Biden had announced a program to either fix or replace bridges through the bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress passed in November, CNN reported.
Update 1:25 p.m. EST Jan. 28: Biden stopped at the site before heading to his scheduled appearance in Pittsburgh.
President Biden just toured the Pittsburgh bridge collapse site and talked with the officials involved in the operation. He'll be heading to his scheduled event in Hazelwood shortly.— WPXI (@WPXI) January 28, 2022
LIVE UPDATES >> https://t.co/s3HjlJ7vxq
PHOTOS FROM THE SCENE >> https://t.co/D5Lg7pS3tr pic.twitter.com/R06Egz3SZ3
Biden landed in Pittsburgh to tour Carnegie Mellon’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative and to speak about manufacturing, infrastructure and other topics. The event was scheduled prior to Friday’s bridge collapse, which is now shining a light on the issues facing the country involving its roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Update 12:25 p.m. EST Jan. 28: The Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Chief Darryl Jones called Friday’s bridge collapse a “surprise.”
“We do have people go out and inspect the bridges. As you know, Pittsburgh is the city of bridges. We have a lot of them, and they’re routinely inspected,” Jones told CNN. “So, this one caught everyone by surprise this morning.”
The driver of the bus that teetered on the collapsed bridge spoke with a reporter from our sister station WPXI. Daryl Luciani said he felt “banged up” and was taken to a hospital to be checked out.
Port authority bus driver Daryl Luciani in good spirits after he was traveling on bridge that collapsed this AM @WPXI pic.twitter.com/WFEtL27UKW— Gabriella DeLuca (@GabriellaDeLuca) January 28, 2022
Update 11:25 a.m. EST Jan. 28: The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate the bridge collapse.
BREAKING NEWS: NTSB launching go-team to Pittsburgh bridge collapse. Chair Jennifer Homendy will be board member on scene. Arrival time this afternoon. Monitor Twitter @ntsb_newsroom for updates.— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) January 28, 2022
The bridge, according to WPXI, was last inspected in September and received a poor rating at the time. It had a weight restriction of 26 tons and 7% truck traffic among the 14,000 vehicles that traveled the span every day.
It was built in 1970 and was 447 feet long, made of steel, according to a state website.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running for U.S. Senate, said that the country’s infrastructure is failing.
“This collapse is just the latest in a long line of preventable, man-made disasters that prove what so many of us in Pennsylvania and around the country have been saying for years: Our infrastructure is failing our people. Our roads and bridges, which are supposed to connect us and bring us together, are increasingly putting us in danger,” he said, according to CNN.
WPXI reported that Biden may visit the bridge collapse site during his trip to Pittsburgh Friday afternoon.
Update 9:41 a.m. EST Jan. 28: The families that had to be evacuated from their homes because of a gas leak have been allowed to return after a gas leak, caused by the collapse has been stopped and gas service has been restored to the properties, WPXI reported.
>>Related: Photos: Bridge collapse near Pittsburgh’s Frick Park
Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said that Biden’s visit on the same day as the collapse will highlight the challenges that they are facing because of crumbling infrastructure.
“This bipartisan infrastructure law, it is critical to southwest Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. We know we have bridges that we need to take care of. We’re finding out now when the last inspection was and everything. But with him coming today, to talk about this infrastructure bill, to discuss why this funding is so important, today is significant,” Gainey said, according to CNN.
Today a bridge collapsed near Forbes and S Braddock. I am thankful there are no reported fatalities or critical injuries at this time. Thank you @PghPublicSafety for the quick response and thank you to the county, state, and federal governments for the cooperation and assistance. pic.twitter.com/tTld6t62rn— Ed Gainey (@gainey_ed) January 28, 2022
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is from the Pittsburgh area and is running for the U.S. Senate, was on the scene shortly after the collapse. He spoke on CNN Friday morning, saying, “It’s surreal, the entire span of the bridge has collapsed into the park and into the walking trail below.”
Been at the scene of the bridge collapse since earlier this morning.— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) January 28, 2022
So thankful to the first responders + to hear from them that there are no reported fatalities. pic.twitter.com/0VEE0osGJd
He called the bridge “a vital artery” for the area, CNN reported.
Update 9:13 a.m. EST Jan. 28: Search and rescue teams are being deployed to make sure that no one is trapped under the bridge, WPXI reported.
UPDATE 4: Three people were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.— Pittsburgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) January 28, 2022
USAR is being deployed to ensure there are no victims under the collapsed bridge. https://t.co/NfXo7MN3lx
Ten people were hurt with three having to be taken to a local hospital. All injuries were considered minor. A couple of first responders slipped and fell at the scene.
Crews had to rappel down the hillside to help people who were about 100 feet below the top of the ravine.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said his administration is monitoring the situation and is ready to support the efforts as needed.
We are monitoring the situation in Pittsburgh and prepared to provide support as needed.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) January 28, 2022
Pittsburgh residents: Please stay safe and continue to avoid the area. https://t.co/4eVtJOIdPw
Some schools in the area transitioned to virtual learning because of the bridge collapse.
“Due to the impact of a bridge collapse in the East End and high call-offs among bus drivers, all K-5, K-8 and 6-8 and Special Schools will transition to remote learning. High schools and 6-12 schools will continue in-person learning. The District will still operate on a 2 hour delay schedule. Pittsburgh Public Schools transportation is canceled. There will be no Grab and Go meal service available today.”
Update 9:09 a.m. EST Jan. 28: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said via Twitter that Biden has been told of the collapse and the administration is in touch with state and local officials. The president, as of Friday morning, “will proceed with trip planned for today.”
@POTUS is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time. The President will proceed with trip planned for today and will stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) January 28, 2022
Original story: No deaths have been reported in connection with the collapse, authorities said. Police, fire and emergency crews were working to remove people from the vehicles, including a handful of bus passengers – most of whom have been rescued, WPXI reported.
ALERT:— Pittsburgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) January 28, 2022
Please avoid the area of Forbes and Braddock for a confirmed bridge collapse. Fire, EMS, and Police responding. No reported injuries at this time.
Updates will be provided. pic.twitter.com/ja8YlzkSp7
Witnesses initially reported “a strong smell of natural gas” in the area, according to WPXI. Crews were able to turn off the gas line, officials said.
#BREAKING: Bridge has collapsed near intersection of Forbes Ave and S Braddock Ave. You can smell natural gas on scene. Peoples Gas crew tells me they have to dig and turn a gas line off. @WPXI pic.twitter.com/SEZ1WnmWNf— Pete DeLuca WPXI (@PeteDeLucaTV) January 28, 2022
UPDATE: Peoples Gas has been able to turn off the gas line involved in the bridge collapse near Frick Park. @WPXI pic.twitter.com/l5jsl4Ehjy— Pete DeLuca WPXI (@PeteDeLucaTV) January 28, 2022
– Please visit WPXI.com for the latest on this developing story.
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