PITTSBURGH — An initial review did not identify the cause of a recent bridge collapse in Pittsburgh but concluded it began at the structure’s west end, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report issued Monday.
The report said investigators found no primary fractures in sections of welded steel girders they examined that were considered “fracture critical.” A fracture critical area in a beam is the part most likely to show damage if the bridge has suddenly given way.
The Forbes Avenue bridge gave way early Jan. 28, sending a city bus and four passenger cars down about 100 feet to the bottom of a ravine carved by Fern Hollow Creek.
A fifth vehicle drove off the east bridge abutment and landed on its roof. In all, 10 vehicle occupants were injured, the agency said. Natural gas lines ruptured and required the evacuation of nearby homes.
The collapse occurred just hours before President Joe Biden visited Pittsburgh to tout a new $1 trillion infrastructure law.
The NTSB said it is extracting bridge components for closer study. A final report from the agency could take more than a year.
The 447-foot-long bridge, built in the early 1970s, exhibited deterioration during an inspection in September, but it was not considered bad enough to warrant its closure. The bridge has had a 26-ton posted weight limit since 2014.
There were no fatalities, but several people required hospital treatment. A UPMC spokesperson said that by Monday, all had been released.
The state highway department has said $25.3 million in National Highway Performance Program funds will be used to rebuild it.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.