Jan 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Pittsburgh bridge collapses hours before Biden visit

A Port Authority bus that was on a bridge when it collapsed Friday Jan. 28, 2022, is visible in Pittsburgh's East End.
A bus that was on a bridge when it collapsed is seen in Pittsburgh's East End on Friday. Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP

A snow-covered bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed on Friday, mere hours before President Biden is set to visit the city to discuss infrastructure.

The big picture: There were at least three non-life-threatening injuries and no fatalities as of Friday morning, Pittsburgh's Mayor Ed Gainey told reporters.

  • Gainey added that the infrastructure bill is more needed than ever. "This bipartisan infrastructure law is critical to southwest Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh, we know we have bridges we need to take care of."
  • "This is critical that we get this funding and we’re glad to have the president coming today," he said to reporters.
  • Biden called Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and Gainey before departing for Pittsburgh, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Driving the news: The Red Cross has been contacted for victim assistance, per Pittsburgh Public Safety, which added that "there is a strong smell of natural gas in the area" and advised residents to avoid the area.

  • The public safety department reported the "confirmed bridge collapse" just before 7 a.m. on Friday.
  • Wolf said that he is "monitoring the situation in Pittsburgh and prepared to provide support as needed."

State of play: Biden is set to arrive in Pittsburgh Friday afternoon, where he is expected to deliver remarks on "strengthening the nation’s supply chains, revitalizing American manufacturing ... and building a better America, including through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law," according to the White House.

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden had been told about the bridge collapse and "will stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide."
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