‘Possibility’ Pedestrian Bridge Collapse Onto DC-295 Caused by Semi, Investigators Say
Washington, D.C. – Authorities in Washington, D.C. are investigating whether a semi-truck hauling 500 gallons of diesel was responsible for a pedestrian bridge collapse Wednesday morning, which has closed both directions of DC-295.
According to investigators, the bridge collapsed at approximately 11:52 a.m. in Northeast Washington, D.C. just north of Interstate 295 on DC-295.
The pedestrian bridge over DC-295 connected Polk Street NE to the western side of Kenilworth Avenue NW near Douglas Street NE.
During a press conference following the incident, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Chris Geldart stated the collapse appeared to have occurred as a result of a separate traffic accident.
“Everything we see in the accident scene right now leads to this being a collision pulling the bridge off its mooring,” Geldart said.
The semi-truck — a white day cab — was partially trapped under the bridge following the collapse, along with numerous other passenger vehicles.
Geldart said it was a “possibility” the white semi was responsible for the bridge being pulled off its mooring.
“It looks like that right now,” Geldart stated, but reiterated there is a “full crime scene investigation” going on.
Approximate 25 gallons of fuel leaked from the truck and a HAZMAT team was called to the scene to mitigate the risk of diesel being leaked into nearby waterways.
Update bridge collapse I-295 prior to Polk St NE. 6 patients assessed, 4 of those were transported. #DCsBravest Hazmat unit mitigating diesel fuel leak from truck that is partially beneath bridge. At least 1 other vehicle was struck by debris. Collapse blocks both directions. pic.twitter.com/wILXGs1zWe
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) June 23, 2021
During the press conference, an unidentified reporter stated the truck driver — whose identity has not been released — said the bridge was already coming down as he approached.
The reporter questioned Geldart if it was possible another vehicle — not the truck — hit the bridge, causing the collapse.
Geldart once again cited the investigation and was hopeful there would be more answers within 24 hours.
Geldart also confirmed the truck was within the bridge’s clearance of 14 feet.
Five people in vehicles were transferred to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries following the incident.
In addition, two people were treated at the scene and released.
No information was given specifically regarding the driver of the truck.
The bridge was last inspected in February 2021, according to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
There were no structural concerns at the time, Bowser confirmed.
Both directions of DC-295 will be closed through at least Thursday as officials reconstruct the crash and clean up debris, Geldart stated.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow the investigation.