New Bridge Collapses; NTSB Warns Many More at Risk

Train cars derail, slam into overpass in Missouri

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2013 7:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – The nation's bridges and overpasses are proving particularly vulnerable to having their support systems knocked out, with a highway overpass in Missouri becoming the latest victim, reports the AP. The span partially collapsed yesterday after a train derailment sent rail cars smashing into support columns, causing two 40-foot sections to buckle with two cars on the overpass. "You're driving down the road and the next thing you know the bridge is not there," says the sheriff in Scott County. "It could have been really bad." The 15-year-old overpass was structurally sound, but simply couldn't withstand the impact, he said. Seven people were injured, none seriously.

The Missouri accident comes as the NTSB is warning that a similar bridge collapse in Washington needs to serve as a wake-up call. "This is a really significant event and we need to learn from it, not just in Washington but around the country," says an investigator. She says the NTSB expects to spend about 10 days investigating the collapse, with an eye on whether it could be replicated at structures nationwide. "At the end of the day it's about preventing an accident like this," she says.

Emergency personnel respond to a train derailment near Rockview, Mo. on Saturday, May 25, 2013. The NTSB launched an investigation into a cargo train collision that collapsed a highway overpass.   (Fred Lynch)
A car lies between damaged sections of a highway overpass near Rockview, Mo. on Saturday, May 25, 2013.   (Michael Mohundro)
Emergency personnel investigate the Route M overpass at Rockview, Mo., about 10 miles south of Cape Girardeau, Mo., after it collapsed onto the railroad tracks, Saturday, May 25, 2013.   (Fred Lynch)
Officials survey the scene just east of the Route M overpass where several train cars derailed on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train near Rockview, Mo. on Saturday, May 25, 2013. The National Transportation...   (Fred Lynch)
New vehicles being transported on a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train poke out of their damaged rail car after a Union Pacific train collided with it at Rockview, Mo. Saturday, May 25, 2013. The National...   (Fred Lynch)
Damaged railcars lie on the ground near Rockview, Mo. on Saturday, May 25, 2013. Authorities said a highway overpass collapsed when rail cars slammed into one of the bridge's pillars after a cargo train...   (Michael Mohundro)
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