Looking back at one year since the Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed, sending six vehicles into the ravine below and putting a spotlight on infrastructure issues.
A neighbor reports hearing a “loud boom, then a monster sound.”
Public safety officials advise commuters to avoid the area around South Braddock and Forbes avenues, noting several minutes later that there was a strong smell of natural gas in the area.
There is a strong smell of natural gas in the area. Please avoid if at all possible. Public Information Officer is en route https://t.co/itk26axnQg
— Pittsburgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) January 28, 2022
Mayor Ed Gainey and fire Chief Darryl Jones give a short preliminary briefing on the situation.
President Joe Biden, already set to visit Pittsburgh that day to tout his infrastructure plan, is briefed on the collapse.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says in a tweet:
“@POTUS has been told of the bridge collapse in 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.”
.@POTUS has been told of the bridge collapse in 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.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) January 28, 2022
President Biden arrives at the collapse site.
A massive crane begins the process of removing cars and a Pittsburgh Regional Transit bus from the Fern Hollow rubble. The 60-foot articulated bus rising from the rubble drew onlookers who called the spectacle “hard to comprehend.”
The National Transportation Safety Board releases its preliminary report, which focuses on the facts of the collapse but does not touch on the cause.
A Penn Hills couple injured in the collapse announce their intent to sue PennDOT, the city and Pittsburgh Regional Transit.
PennDOT announces that reconstruction could begin as soon as the following month.
The National Transportation Safety Board releases the first photos captured by cameras on the Pittsburgh Regional Transit bus involved in the collapse.
Construction begins in earnest, with crews boring holes under the bridge for caissons. Concrete was poured later that week.
The driver of the Pittsburgh Regional Transit bus involved in the collapse files a motion asking the city to turn over records pertaining to the bridge, noting he anticipates filing a lawsuit. Lawyers for two others involved in the collapse also file writs of summons.
A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette investigation shows that officials knew the bridge was in grim condition as early as October 2021, with rust corrosion wearing holes through steel support legs and cross-beams disconnected from their connection to the support legs.
The first 100-ton beams begin their 124-mile journey from Blair County to Frick Park. Each beam is about 150 feet long, eight feet high and four feet wide. Cheryl Moon-Sirianni, district executive for PennDOT, says the bridge could open before the end of the year.
The final 100-ton beams arrive from Blair County.
President Biden visits the bridge construction site to tout the good his infrastructure bill has done since it was passed.
The new Fern Hollow Bridge opens.