Bridge That Collapsed Just Before Biden's Visit Received 'Poor' Rating Months Ago

The Pennsylvania bridge that collapsed Friday morning, hours before President Joe Biden was set to visit the state to discuss the benefits of the infrastructure law signed last year, was inspected in September and received a "poor" rating that wasn't low enough to cause the bridge to be closed, according to the Associated Press.

The $1.2 trillion law Biden signed in November includes more than $100 billion for roads and other infrastructure projects, including $40 billion for the replacement or repair of bridges across the country.

The Pittsburgh bridge was inspected on September 29 and received a rating of 4 on a scale from 0 to 9. While it was not rated low enough to be closed, the bridge has had a 26-ton weight limit in place since 2014, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesperson told AP.

"This bridge's design relies on the quality of frame elements alone without any backup support [known as redundancy], and reports show deterioration that did not warrant closure but supported the imposition of a posted weight limit to restrict the weight of loads," Alexis Campbell said.

Campbell also told the AP that an estimated $25.3 million in National Highway Performance Program funding will be used to repair the bridge that runs through Frick Park near Pittsburgh.

The collapse did not cause any fatalities, although AP reported that from the several cars on the bridge when it collapsed, multiple people received hospital care and one person was still hospitalized as of Monday.

Pennsylvania Bridge Collapse Joe Biden Infrastructure
Vehicles, including a Port Authority bus, are left stranded after a bridge collapsed along Forbes Avenue on January 28, 2022, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Officials said Monday that the bridge received a "poor" rating during a September inspection, but it wasn't low enough to force the bridge be closed. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Tyrone and Velva Perry, a 69-year old couple from Pittsburgh, each suffered a fracture of a vertebrae in their backs after their pickup fell when the bridge collapsed, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"My father says that every time he closes his eyes, he sees the bridge collapsing, and my mother is still experiencing a feeling of falling," their daughter, Erin Perry, told the Tribune-Review.

The U.S. received a C-overall grade for the nation's infrastructure in a 2021 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, with bridges registering a C grade.

The White House said at the time the infrastructure bill was signed into law that the $40 billion would be the single largest investment into bridges in the country since the inception of the interstate highway system in the 1950s, according to CNN.

That number could have been higher, as Biden initially proposed $159 billion for roads and other infrastructure projects in the American Jobs Plan that was eventually pared down to the infrastructure bill signed in November, CNN reported.

About 45,000 bridges and 173,000 miles, about 20 percent, of the nation's highways are in poor condition, CNN reported.

Monday afternoon, the AP reported that a crane had been used to lift the bus and several cars that were on the bridge at the time of the collapse out of the ravine.

Update 01/31/22, 6:10 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include that vehicles have been removed from the scene of the collapse.