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Thursday, June 18, 2015bridgecollapse

RIDGWAY: The Pennsy Bridge (also known as the North Broad Street Bridge) in Ridgway (Elk County; U. S. Route 219) has fallen down on one side from causes not yet known. Herein is a photo obtained by a group member. Residents are asked to steer clear of the area. Route 219 will be closed in both directions indefinitely.

The bridge was 103 years old (having been erected in 1912). The event took place around 2:00 P. M. in the northbound lane. Marla Fannin, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation representative, indicated the bridge spanned Elk Creek.

Ridgway Fire Chief Scott Pontious indicated one worker in an excavator and two others (on foot) on the bridge were hurt. Two of the workers didn't appear to be seriously injured, though the other was taken via ambulance to a St. Marys hospital where he was then transported via helicopter according to the chief.

"The excavator was sitting in the middle of the bridge, and two guys were walking across the bridge, and it just collapsed," Pontious told AP reporters. He viewed a video of the collapse captured on a surveillance camera from a nearby Hardware store.

PennDOT closed the bridge to traffic until further notice. Agency inspectors were going to the bridge, which won't reopen unless or until it is deemed safe for travel (referring to the in tact southbound side.

Paul Roman, president of Francis J. Palo, Inc., the contractor on the bridge rebuild, said the injured didn't work for his company directly, saying the trio were employees of a yet unnamed subcontractor.

Approximately 5,500 vehicles used the bridge each day as per the National Bridge Inventory who also note the bridge's substructure was considered "satisfactory" and its overall score of 4 meant the bridge "met minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as is"The bridge is [supposed] to be inspected every two years. Data from May 2012 (the most recent we could find) showed the bridge's deck and superstructure scored 4 on a scale of 0 to 9, with 9 being "excellent." An overall score of 4 indicated the bridge was in "poor condition". Today's collapse would seem to confirm that notion.

The bridge replacement began in March. PennDOT said the $2.2 million project involved repairing and rebuilding the bridge one side at a time. The bridge, prior to the repairs, appeared on Elk County's structurally deficient list.

We will link you to the hardware store's video when it becomes available. Likewise, we'll share the names of the injured after we're certain appropriate family and the like are first notified.

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Wind: 21 mph

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