PITTSBURGH — A two-lane bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh early Friday, prompting rescuers to rappel nearly 150 feet (46 meters) while others formed a human chain to help rescue multiple people from a dangling bus.
The collapse came hours before President Joe Biden was to visit the city to press for his $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which includes bridge maintenance.
There were minor injuries from the collapse but no fatalities, said authorities, who also said they were flying drones to make sure no one is under any collapsed sections.
Police reported the span, on Forbes Avenue over Fern Hollow Creek in Frick Park, came down just before 7 a.m.
A photo from the scene showed a commuter bus upright on a section of the collapsed bridge.
City officials said the collapse caused a gas leak but the gas has since been shut off.
Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Darryl Jones said three or four vehicles were involved in the collapse and there were 10 minor injuries with three brought to the hospital. None of the injuries were life-threatening, Jones said.
At the site of the collapse, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said “it’s just an awful surreal scene.”
“I hope it’s a wake-up call to the nation that we need to make these infrastructure investments.”
Authorities told motorists to avoid the area.
In a statement, the White House said Biden would proceed with his planned trip to Pittsburgh.
“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,” the statement said. “The President is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time.”
The steel span, which was built in 1970, carries about 14,500 vehicles a day, according to a 2005 estimate.
A September 2019 inspection of the city-owned bridge revealed the deck and superstructure to be in poor condition, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Bridge Inventory. A spreadsheet on the state Department of Transportation website listed the bridge’s overall condition as poor, which, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, means “deterioration of primary structural elements has advanced.”
Authorities said Friday the bridge was last inspected in September of 2021 but those reports were not readily available. The report has been requested from PennDOT.