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Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse – How Safe Are Pennsylvania Bridges?

Pennsylvania’s infrastructure is aging. Sidewalks, roads, and bridges need regular inspection and maintenance. People depend on infrastructure, and safety is paramount. When inspections and maintenance fail, it puts people in danger. Bridges are especially important because of the heights involved.

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On January 28, 2022 a bridge near Pittsburgh collapsed. While no one was seriously hurt, the collapse highlights a serious problem with Pennsylvania infrastructure. Will it get worse?

Bridge Inspections

How safe are bridges? What is happening to ensure this tragedy won’t happen again? There are already systems in place to help prevent bridge collapse. But, are these systems enough?

Here is everything you need to know about the bridge collapse and what it means for your safety:

Poorly Rated Bridges

Did you know bridges are inspected on a schedule? The inspector will issue a rating which helps determine when repairs are needed. There is a website with bridge inspection results for every

bridge in the United States.

FACT CHECK: The 50-year-old Fern Hollow bridge in Pittsburgh received a “poor” rating in a 2017 inspection. The estimated repair cost at the time was $1,522,000. Additionally, this same bridge had a low rating since 2011. In that entire time, the bridge was known to have structural problems but the city neglected to repair it.

Bridge Collapse Injuries And Deaths In The US

The Fern Hollow bridge collapse is the most recent, but the US has had numerous bridge collapses in recent history. The severity of bridge collapses in the US range from minor to deadly. Some of these incidents are the result of a crash that damaged the bridge or supports. However, several major collapse incidents are the result of faulty construction, repairs, or delayed repairs.

Bridge Repair Funding Issues

Many analysts believe funding issues may be to blame for the Fern Hollow bridge collapse. It is scary to think cities are waiting to repair bridges and hoping no one gets hurt. There are many bridges in the US that need to be repaired or replaced.

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Bridge Inspection And Repair Problems

In the US, 83% of bridges are inspected every 24 months. 12% of bridges are inspected every 12 months. The remaining bridges are inspected every 48 months. Is this schedule enough to catch possible problems?

It can take several years for a bridge with a “poor” rating to be repaired. Additionally, bridges in this condition are rarely closed to traffic. This means people are unknowingly using bridges that need repairs.

Should Dangerous Bridges Be Closed?

One could argue that a “poorly-rated” bridge should be closed for travel. However, this is not normally the case.

Some engineers claim that “poor” conditions of a bridge do not necessarily mean it is dangerous. But, if a condition rating doesn’t differentiate between harmless and dangerous, the rating system needs correction.

Pennsylvania Bridge Inspection

A website is available that offers bridge inspection information – but is that enough? Should signs be posted to warn of the danger of a “poor” bridge? The public should be aware of the safety status of a bridge.

Bridge Collapse Injury Claims

If a bridge collapses and causes injury or death, several entities might be responsible:

  • the state
  • city/municipality
  • civil engineer
  • construction company
  • inspector

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Statute Of Limitations

Do You Have a Case?

If you were injured due to a bridge collapse, you may have a legal claim. Claims against state and local entities demand quick action to protect your rights. You’ll want an experienced attorney that will help you get the compensation you deserve.

Free Consultation With An Injury Attorney

Kane & Silverman is your trusted injury law firm in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Contact us today for a free consultation with an injury attorney. You don’t pay us anything unless we recover money for you.