Collapsed Pittsburgh bridge is one of the 44,000 poorly maintained bridges in the US

According to the city’s fire chief, an inspection of the collapsed bridge took place in September of last year. Billions have already been set aside for bridge, road, and mass transportation improvements as part of Vice President Biden’a $1 trillion infrastructure spending programme, which is the greatest investment of its kind in decades.

Pittsburgh’s bridge collapse on Friday before President Joe Biden’s visit to the city emphasised the perilous status of most of America’s transportation infrastructure, which is expected to receive a trillion-dollar infusion over the next several years. The Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh, like roughly 44,000 other bridges around the country, has been assessed in bad condition by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2021 inventory.

When the snow-covered bridge fell into a wooded gully at 6 a.m. (1100 GMT), authorities claimed ten people were injured but not seriously. The collapse triggered a major natural gas leak, which was brought under control and forced the evacuation of several surrounding homes. An estimated 14,500 vehicles per day travel along Forbes Avenue, a major thoroughfare, on the four-lane bridge, which was built in 1970.

31 city bridges have a low condition rating, and this one is among them. “We’re going to fix them all,” Vice President Biden declared during a visit to the site of the collapse.

Corey O’Connor, a member of the Pittsburgh City Council, said the damage might have been much worse. On a busy day, “down in the valley” may see as many as 200 vehicles, he told CNN. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, a “poor” rating does not necessarily mean a bridge is at risk of collapsing, but it does mean they should be inspected often. According to the city’s fire chief, the fallen bridge was inspected in September.

Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure spending proposal, the greatest such investment in decades, is already giving billions of dollars for renovations to bridges, roads, and public transportation systems.. Pennsylvania receives an influx of repair dollars.

Earlier this month, the Department of Transportation announced that it will be disbursing $5.3 billion to states to rebuild bridges, a significant increase from previous years. The third-largest portion went to Pennsylvania, which received $327 million. As a political battleground, Delaware was critical to Biden’s success in the 2020 presidential race. All 10 of Pennsylvania’s Democratic senators and representatives voted in favour of the infrastructure bill, while nine of the state’s Republican representatives voted against it.

The money will come in handy in the long run. Bridges in the Northeastern state have a poor condition rate of roughly double the national average, according to the national inventory. Only 5% of Pennsylvanians use the bridges on a daily basis.

According to a 2018 report by the civil engineering organisation, the bridges in the state received a rating of D-plus. Poor grades were also given to the city’s road, sewer, and water systems, as well as its public transportation. After passing a fuel tax increase in 2013, the society stated the state had made progress. That state’s bridge inspection programme exceeded federal criteria was hailed by the organisation.

A hilly metropolis of around 300,000 inhabitants at the meeting point of three main rivers, Pittsburgh has 732 bridges within its city limits, according to Vice President Biden, more than any other city in the world. More than 40% have been damaged or destroyed. If the Transportation Department makes it easier for communities to cut speed limits, we’ll all be better off in the long run, according to city officials and enhance the security of pedestrians.

When Karina Ricks, the city’s ex-Transportation Director stepped down last year, she accepted a top position with the Federal Transit Administration.

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