President Biden pays visit to Pittsburgh


Michael Ascenzi/flickr

President Biden observes the collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge in Frick Park during his visit to Pittsburgh to discuss infrastructure on Jan. 28.

Janey Parks, Staff Writer

For many years now, America has been in a state in which the infrastructure is not at its greatest potential. The population has increased and technology has changed. Lagging updates to infrastructure are not keeping up with the nation’s demands. Types of infrastructure like electricity, railways, bridges, roads, water supply and sanitation systems are all in a severe deficit these days. The nation’s infrastructure is failing, and action may be in the process of happening after an incident that drew in the president.

On Jan. 28, a bridge in Frick Park collapsed, and many vehicles, including various cars and a large bus, went down with it. President Joe Biden came to Pittsburgh that day to promote an infrastructure package for the United States. 

Biden landed at Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin, and shortly after he arrived, went to the site of the collapse. The speech was supposed to be held at Hazelwood’s Mill 19 on that Friday afternoon. The visit at Hazelwood was planned earlier that week but became crucial and very necessary after the bridge collapse.

With the last hour of daylight remaining on Monday, Jan. 31, the Port Authority bus that had been stuck for days was pulled from the fallen Fern Hollow Bridge. Many people gathered around the site to watch as they lifted the bus from the sunken bridge. The crowds gathered on the observation site that city officials just opened on Monday. Once the crane got the bus in the air, it took about 15 minutes to get it back on the ground safely. Earlier that morning, the crane pulled out three other vehicles, but they did not gain as much attention.

“We saw today when a bridge is in disrepair, it literally can threaten lives,” Biden stated at Carnegie Mellon University’s Mill 19, which is just a few miles from the collapsed bridge. 

There were 10 citizens injured and three were hospitalized because of this accident. Considering the damages, the collapse could have resulted in many more injuries and it was a shock to some when they found out that everyone made it out alive. There are thousands of other bridges on the brink of the same fate that the Fern Hollow Bridge fell to, which is another topic the President brought up in his speech. 

“There are another 3,300 bridges here in Pennsylvania just as old, and just as decrepit in condition as that bridge was…across the country there are 45,000 bridges in poor condition,” Biden said.

The cleanup and replacement of the bridge could take up to a year to complete. Although this was a very alarming incident that was very unsafe and scary for the victims, hopefully, people will pay more attention to the importance of fixing up withered structures in our area.

The President hasa reassuring attitude and a positive outlook for the future of infrastructure.  

“We’re gonna rebuild that bridge, along with thousands of other bridges in Pennsylvania and across the country because it’s in our interests, for our own safety’s sake and it generates commerce in a way that we can’t do now,” Biden said.