The Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh recently collapsed while still open and fully in-use, leading local officials to step in and take a closer look at infrastructure. National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said that the disaster should serve “as a call to action” and that she was grateful for no casualties.
“Although we can’t determine the cause of the collapse while we’re on the scene, this should serve as a call to action,” Homendy stressed. “When I look at the position of the bus, and the position of the vehicles, I’m really thankful that no one lost their life in this collapse.
“And then when you’re next to the structure, and you’re underneath the structure, the damage is massive.”
She went on to say that her team will closely examine all areas of the incident so that it won’t happen again.
“Our mission here is to determine how this collapse happened, why it happened and to prevent it from ever happening again,” Homendy said. “This will be a long, technical investigation.”
Pictures of the collapse show several vehicles thrust into the ravine below, including a city Port Authority bus with passengers. Local newspapers are reporting 10 injuries to various motorists at this time.
“I know you’re going to ask me about inspection reports,” Homendy said. “But when we’re on the scene, we want to document the scene and focus on the scene. The information on a piece of paper, we can do that once we leave the scene. The evaluation of that will come later.”
Biden recently came to the area to assess the Pittsburgh bridge collapse
President Joe Biden used the collapsed bridge as an opportunity to come to Pittsburgh. There, he called for a return to American manufacturing. Biden introduced massive infrastructure legislation last year as part of his Build Back Better campaign promise. He said the economy should live by “one principle” of making things in America “like we used to.”
The President also said that his government spending bill is “already making tangible differences” in America. He hopes that federal funding will repair and maintain bridges and roads across the country, like the one that fell in Pittsburgh. The Democratic administration earmarked a reported $1.6 billion in federal money for Pittsburgh and its 446 bridges, alone.
Biden also met with emergency personnel and local officials during his visit to the collapsed bridge. He told them that he doesn’t want to read fatal headlines when the next bridge inevitably falls; and that his infrastructure bill will fix all the bridges in the city, state, and country as a whole.
More than 3,300 bridges and 7,500 miles of highway are in poor condition in the state of Pennsylvania alone.