Three hospitalized after Pittsburgh bridge collapse near site of Biden speech


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A bridge collapse in a Pittsburgh park resulted in injuries to 10 people, three of whom had to be taken to a hospital, officials said early Friday  — hours before President Biden was due to arrive in the city to give remarks touting his infrastructure plan.

“The good thing, at this point, is that there’s no fatalities,” Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey told reporters. “We were fortunate.”

The bridge carrying Forbes Avenue through Frick Park east of downtown gave way shortly before 7 a.m., according to a tweet from the city’s Department of Public Safety.

The collapsed Pittsburgh bridge was last inspected in September, according to officials.
The collapsed Pittsburgh bridge was last inspected in September, according to officials.
AP

Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones said that “three or four vehicles” — including a city bus — were on the bridge at the time it collapsed into a wooded ravine. He clarified that the three hospitalized patients were on the bus and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

“The others [who were hurt] were some of our first responders who [suffered] slips and falls and things like that, exhaustion,” he added. “So everybody’s OK.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald described the bridge as “a major, major artery” and warned “a lot of work’s gonna need to be done” to clean up the damage. 

Bridge collapse
The collapse happened on Friday near the site where Biden is scheduled to make infrastructure remarks.

Several homes in the area were evacuated after a gas line was damaged and needed to be shut off. Jones said shortly before 9 a.m. that families had been allowed back into their homes and service had been restored. 

The site of the collapse is about four miles away from where Biden was slated to deliver a speech at 2 p.m. to tout the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan he signed into law back in November. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that Biden had been told of the bridge collapse and would go forward with his trip as planned. 

bridge collapse
Some formed a human chain to help rescue people left dangling from a bus.
AP
bridge collpase
Vehicles that were on a bridge when it collapsed are visible.
AP
bridge collapse
Rescuers rappelled nearly 150 feet to help stranded passengers.
AP

“Our team is in touch with state and local officials on the ground as they continue to gather information about the cause of the collapse,” she wrote, adding that Biden was “grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time” and would “stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide.”

The infrastructure plan allocates approximately $110 billion to roads, bridges and other projects.

“We need it,” Gainey said when asked about funding from the new law. “I’ve said it before, this bipartisan infrastructure law, it’s critical to Southwest Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. We know we have bridges that we need to take care of … At the end of the day, we could have had some serious injuries.”

The bridge collapsed just four miles from where Biden is expected to appear later today.
Psaki tweeted that Biden would go forward with his trip as planned.
Pittsburgh Public Safety

“This is critical that we get this funding,” Gainey added, “and we’re glad to have the president coming today.”

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear. Officials told reporters the bridge was last inspected in September.


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