Bridge Collapse Not An Isolated Incident

Today the National Transportation Safety Board begins its investigation of the fatal Minneapolis bridge collapse.

CBS News transportation correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on the previous instances that the NTSB has to draw upon as they conduct their analysis of why the bridge came apart.

Bridge collapses often take place while they are still under the construction process. One bridge in East Chicago killed 12 construction worked in 1982.

But there have been major collapses, like Minneapolis, that had dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of cars crossing when the bridge went down.

One example is the Sunshine Skyway. In 1980, a freighter rammed into this Tampa, Fla. steel cantilever bridge. A large segment of the bridge, along with a Greyhound bus and six cars, plummeted into Tampa Bay, killing 35 people.

In 1983, a 100-foot section of the Mianis River Bridge in Connecticut, a part of I-95, plunged 70 feet into the water. The failure of crucial holding pins was blamed for the collapse that caused three deaths.

Perhaps the deadliest bridge collapse occurred in 1967. The Silver Bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio gave way during rush hour and tumbled into the Ohio River, killing 46 people. The cause was eventually determined to be corrosion.

Steel corrosion on bridges is still a major concern. Infrastructure experts worry that thousands of American bridges are dangerously outdated and overburdened. In 2006, approximately one-fifth of interstate bridges were rated as deficient, either structurally deficient or obsolete.

Overall, one-quarter of all bridges in the U.S. are considered structurally deficient, and 80,000 bridges across the country need some sort of reconstruction or rebuilding.

Other recent bridge collapses include:

  • July 31, 2007: A highway overpass under construction in Oroville, Calif., collapses, crushing a delivery truck and seriously injuring a construction worker who fell 50 feet.

  • April 2007: A section of freeway that funnels traffic off the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapses after a gasoline tanker truck overturns and erupts into flames. Only the truck driver is injured.

  • September 2006: A bridge collapse in Quebec, Canada, kills five people.

  • November 2005: A section of a highway bridge under construction in southern Spain collapses, killing six people.

  • May 2003: A tractor-trailer slams into a bridge support on Interstate 80 in western Nebraska, sending the bridge crashing down onto the truck and killing the driver.

  • May 2002: A 500-foot section of a bridge spanning the Arkansas River in Webbers Falls, Okla., collapses and kills 14 people after a barge hits it.

  • July, August 2002: Two bridges in central China collapse, killing a combined 19 people.

  • September 2001: The Queen Isabella Causeway in Texas collapses after a tow boat captain loses control of a string of barges and currents drive them into a bridge support. Eight people die when their vehicles plummet 85 feet into the channel.

  • March 2001: A bridge collapse in Lisbon, Portugal, causes a tour bus to plunge into a river, killing more than 50 people.

  • June 1998: A train traveling from Munich to Hamburg derails in Hanover, Germany, leading to the deaths of 101 people. Sections of the train flip off the tracks, causing the overpass to collapse.

  • April 5, 1987: A bridge on the New York State Thruway near Amsterdam, N.Y., gives way, killing 10 people.
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