Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Collapse of the Silver Bridge



I was a young girl back on December 15,1967 when at approximately 5 p.m., the U.S. Highway 35 bridge connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga, Ohio suddenly collapsed into the Ohio River. At the time of failure, thirty- seven vehicles were crossing the bridge span, and thirty-one of those automobiles fell with the bridge. Forty- six individuals perished with the buckling of the bridge and nine were seriously injured. The bridge was dubbed the 'Silver Bridge' because it was the country's first aluminum painted bridge. It had stood for almost 40 years. Many people were out buying Christmas trees, enjoying the holiday season, unaware of the disaster, until they heard the sound. Some individuals said, 'the sound of the collapse was like that of a shotgun." For those who saw the bridge collapse, they said, "it looked like the bridge fell like a card deck."

The cause of failure was attributed to a cleavage fracture in the lower limb of eye-bar 330 at joint C13N of the north eye-bar suspension chain in the Ohio side span." The fracture was caused from a minute crack formed during the casting of the steel eye-bar. Inspection prior to construction would not have been able to notice the miniature crack. Over the life span of the bridge, the only way to detect the fracture would have been to disassemble the eye-bar. The technology used for inspection at the time was not capable of detecting such cracks.

My photos are of the Memorial Silver Bridge that replaced the collapsed span. I have crossed it twice in the past couple of months and each time I felt an unexplainable eeriness pass over me. I suppose watching it unfold all those years ago on our tiny TV set is still ingrained in memory and still elicits helplessness at such tragedy.

As with any tragedy life goes on. This is evident of the bridge traffic that crosses daily and of the river traffic underneath such as the tug moving barges on the day we visited the nearby park overlooking the bridge.
For more Watery Wednesday click here.

24 comments:

Thom said...

Tragic story but as you say life does go on. I think I would have the same feeling you do every time you go over it. Great photos :)

ewok1993 said...

Lovely pix.

hobbyentusiast said...

Nice pictures. Especially the first. Its awsome.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh what a horrible story, Carletta. I'm sure that will be in your mind for as long as you live. AND--crossing the bridge now has to give you strange feelings...

Life does go on ---and we do have tragedies... Hopefully, the good times always outweigh the bad.
Hugs,
Betsy

J Bar said...

Quite tragic.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A tragic story, but well-told. Interesting too in light of all of the bridge repair and reconstruction that is going on recently all over the country. All of the freeways were built in the 50s and many bridges have reached their "shelf-life". Let us hope they all get repaired or replaced before another tragedy.

Pam said...

It must have been hard for the people who survived and saw this horrible tragedy.
MY heart goes out to those families who lost loved ones and still have to endure crossing that bridge.

Very well written, Carletta

Stephany said...

Wonderful photos and a beautiful silver bridge, Carletta! I got a chill reading your history of the bridge. On May 9, 1980 the southbound span of the Sunshine Skyway bridge in Florida collapsed when a freighter collided with a support column. Six cars and a Greyhound bus fell 150 feet, killing 35 people. They built a new bridge next to the old one but I was still paranoid every time I had to drive over it.

Neal said...

Very nice pictures Carletta. I don't know which one I like the best.

You're telling your age...."young girl in 1967". :)

Randi said...

What a tragic story. The shots are great and I can understand your feelings.

Ebie said...

How sad and tragic, especially happening during the holidays. It also would give me an eerie feeling, too.

Love the long shot view!

luna miranda said...

i remember seeing a documentary about the collapse of this bridge in NatGeo channel. how tragic, indeed.

Maria said...

Lovely photos!

Marcee said...

What a tragedy...
Beautiful shots of the bridge!!

J is for jewelry...

Hootin' Anni said...

How horrific!! I have a deep fear of water above my head, so I'd would've perished before I hit if I had been on the bridge when it collapsed.

The history of this was quite a read.

STOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE... is my Wednesday entry!! do come by if you can, I'd love to have your company today.

Judy said...

Such a tragic story but one that will never be forgotten. Thanks for sharing your story and photos.

Denise said...

A sad day and that kind of tragedy never leaves our memory does it? Nice shots Carletta. Thanks for sharing this post.

JunieRose2005 said...

Very tragic story-thank you for sharing.


Junie

momgen said...

Great post for the WW! See you.

Mine is here

dot said...

Interesting post and your pictures are very nice as always. I get the creeps every time I cross a big bridge of any sort.

Rose said...

What a tragedy! I would always remember, too, when crossing the bridge.

Craver Vii said...

That's shocking and sad. I guess we never know when we will have that appointment with our Maker.

top5cats said...

What an interesting story and sad event. It always best to keep those lost in mind. Great pictures.

JunieRose2005 said...

Carletta_ please stop by my blog for an award!

(and don't feel obligated to follow thru unless you want to! :)


Junie