Pittsburgh, PA

Collapsed Pittsburgh bridge listed in "poor condition" since 2012

Kristen Walters

Collapsed bridge.Izanbar from Getty Images (Canva Pro license.)

According to bridge inspection documents filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Pittsburgh bridge collapse that occurred on the morning of January 28, 2022, in Frick Park shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

The bridge located on Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh's East End was built in 1970. According to an estimate from 2005, approximately 14,500 vehicles crossed the bridge each day. Although, the number of cars using the bridge in recent years is likely higher.

According to the Bridge Summary Report from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, the Forbes Avenue bridge was last inspected in 2019. According to one source, local authorities claim the bridge was last inspected in September 2021. However, that inspection report is not currently available from PennDot for public reading.

In the 2019 report, the bridge deck and superstructure were described as being in "poor condition" while only the substructure was listed as being in "satisfactory condition." However, the bridge remained open for public use with no notice posted about its failing condition or potential safety hazards.

While no fatalities were reported in Friday's bridge collapse, there is no denying that this accident could have had much more severe consequences. Worse still, this is an event that could have been avoided.

Bridge reports dated as far back as 2012 list the Forbes Avenue bridge superstructure as being in "poor condition." In the 2019 report, the bridge deck was also described as being in "poor condition."

It is somewhat ironic that this event occurred on the same day that President Biden visited the Pittsburgh area to promote his new infrastructure package.

What do you think?

Is this something that should have been avoided?

Does it concern you that bridges in "poor condition" remain open to the public without warning of potential safety risks?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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