In a scathing May report, the National Transportation Safety Board said lack of maintenance caused the January 2022 collapse of Pittsburgh’s Fern Hollow Bridge, a catastrophe that injured 10 people, four of them seriously.
Besides investigating what went wrong at Fern Hollow, the group inspected 10 similar uncoated weathering steel Pennsylvania bridges and found the same kinds of maintenance problems. They sounded the alarm that, nationwide, 10,000 bridges are similarly at risk.
In the midst of fingerpointing as to who is responsible for Fern Hollow, the fact remains that thousands of bridges in the U.S., not just uncoated weathering steel ones, are in danger of collapse. A separate report from the U.S. DOT found that more than 46,000 spans — about 7.5% of the country’s bridges — are in “poor” condition, as Fern Hollow was rated before it fell.