Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Silver Bridge Disaster

Friday night rush hour, people hurry on their way home, for those living along the Ohio River, the Silver Bridge was a convenient way to cross from  Point Pleasant, West Virginia to Gallipolis, Ohio. At about 5 PM on Friday, December 15, 1967 a loud noise was heard and the three spans of the bridge collapsed into the river, taking with them scores of automobiles and trucks. Forty six people lost their lives that night, along with scores of others who were injured.
The Silver Bridge, Purdue University / Bowen Laboratory photo.

The Silver Bridge was constructed in 1927-1928, opening on May 30, 1928. The 1,700 foot span was unique using eyebar suspension chains. The eye on one of those chains was later determined to have corroded leading to the collapse. The bridge had last been inspected just days earlier, on December 6.
Eyebar design, from matdl.org
 Aftermath of the collapse from WOWK TV
Aftermath of the collapse from The Toledo Blade.
Above, The Plain Dealer, December 16, 1967.

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