Bridge accidents in Maryland

August 03, 2007|By Julie Turkewitz | Julie Turkewitz,Sun Reporter

August 1949 A 300-foot piece of an abandoned Huntington Avenue trolley trestle collapsed while workers were dismantling the bridge. The section fell 80 feet onto the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. No one was hurt.

June 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes ruined the Buckingham Road bridge, a two-lane span that linked several Northwest Baltimore County neighborhoods to Liberty Road. A one-lane bridge was erected and remained until April 1992, when a bus exceeding the 5-ton weight limit nearly toppled it.

March 22, 1976 A 10-foot section of a drawbridge on Route 404 in Denton collapsed over the Choptank River the day after a severe windstorm. No one was hurt. The bridge had been inspected two years before.

July 21, 1980 Part of the Russell Street bridge collapsed when at least four of the seven heavy steel beams under the road sheared rivets and bolts, causing southbound lanes to drop about 2 feet. Heat had caused the steel beams supporting the 29-year-old bridge to expand and push on other beams, snapping the bolts and rivets. No injuries were reported.

Aug. 17, 1988 A 50-foot section of a two-lane drawbridge in Pocomoke City fell into the Pocomoke River. No one was hurt, though the wreck occurred just moments after a motorist had crossed the bridge. The 67-year-old structure connected Worcester and Somerset counties and was up to date on inspections. The deck had been inspected in March and an underwater examination completed in 1986.

Aug. 31, 1989 Workers were pouring concrete onto a new bridge on Route 198 when the structure collapsed onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near Laurel. Fourteen people were hurt, many seriously. Contractors had used screw jacks rated to hold 10,000 pounds each instead of the 25,000-pound capacity approved by federal engineers. The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Office fined the contractor involved, J.P. Smith Co. Inc. of Edgewater, for failing to inspect the support structure before pouring concrete.

September 1989 Tropical Storm David washed out four bridges in Baltimore County: a two-lane span on Greenspring Avenue near the Beltway, another two-lane span on Mays Chapel Road near Timonium and two smaller bridges on Harris Mill Lane and Piney Hill Road. No injuries were reported.

July 5, 1994 A hole on an O'Donnell Street bridge opened up, sending debris onto train tracks below and closing the highway. City public works engineers blamed a harsh winter for the 2-foot-wide hole on the bridge that crosses Haven Street near Interstate 95 in Southeast Baltimore. The bridge was slated for extensive repairs this year.

June 8, 1999 An improperly loaded tractor-trailer hit a pedestrian bridge over the Baltimore Beltway during rush hour, causing the 42-year-old Maiden Choice footbridge in Arbutus to collapse onto the beltway. One driver, Robert Norman Taylor, was killed when his vehicle slammed into the wreckage, and three others were injured. The truck's load was nearly 3 feet too tall to pass under the bridge. The State Highway Administration had inspected the bridge five weeks before and declared it structurally sound.

[ Julie Turkewitz]

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