Bridge Collapses: When There Is No Warning

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Many commuters cross bridges daily, whether it be over small rivers or larger bodies of water. We drive on the bridge and think nothing of the security and construction it provides to make sure we arrive at the other side safety. But, not all bridges are so safe. Luckily, there were no fatalities in a major interstate bridge collapse that occurred in Washington earlier this summer. For commuters who had driven over that bridge many times a day, the fact that a collapse occurred so quickly still leaves many in disbelief as to the circumstances. At that time, many cars fell in the Skagit River and many others had to be rescued, but surprisingly no one died. A bridge collapse can leave many wondering how there could be no warning; they remain frightened about travelling over the bridge again. That interstate, in particular, is Washington state’s busiest freeway. The bridge had a weight restriction and the collapse may have been caused by an oversized load from a semi-truck crossing the bridge.

We know that some bridges collapse without warning. In August 2007 an interstate bridge in Minnesota collapsed during rush hour, proving to be the worst event of its kind in 25 years. Investigations led to inadequate parts of the structure. One sudden inaccurate move and something could go amiss sending cars and people into the (sometimes rough) waters below. Why do bridges collapse in the first place?

There are many reasons why a bridge could collapse. It is hard to imagine that one of the most massive engineering projects ever could be faulty in its construction, but every bridge presents complications and situations that can affect what happens and how it is constructed, including construction materials, weather and environment surrounding the bridge itself. Natural disasters can cause bridges to collapse, such as fires when a vehicle explodes on the bridge, or flooding that occurs from hurricanes and other poor weather conditions. Other times a bridge could be hit by a plane, or a boat that underestimates the height restrictions. And, further still, there are construction accidents; the bridge could collapse as it is being built.

What should you do if you have been involved in a bridge collapse accident? If you or someone you know has been injured, either as a construction worker on a bridge or a commuter crossing the bridge when it collapsed, there may be a few municipalities involved if the bridge connects states or counties. Inspection and investigations are lengthy and elaborate, and could take several years to resolve. In New York, enlisting the aid of a law firm renowned for personal injury accidents can help you settle your case quickly and effectively.