Questions remain after bridge collapse - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Questions remain after bridge collapse


I-75 has reopened after being closed for about 24 hours after a collapse of the old Hopple Street overpass. Questions still remain how an accident like this could happen.

A construction worker, 35-year-old Brandon Carl, died in the accident and one other was injured. But the question is, what caused this awful tragedy?

"Listen 75 South, 75 South the bridge has collapsed all on the expressway," said one 9-1-1 caller.

"Have any vehicles been hit," asked the dispatcher.

“Yes,” the caller responded.

“How many?”

“It looks like a semi and some cars," answered the witness.

It was a "catastrophic pancake collapse" according to officials. Brandon Carl was a construction worker who died in the crash. Eric Meyers, a truck driver, was driving southbound on I-75 and struck the fallen section of the bridge, but his injuries are minor.

Gary Middleton with ODOT says this was a "routine demolition" of the Hopple Street exit overpass.

"The Hopple Street improvement included the demolition of this particular structure. This structure will not go back in service. It's being demolished completely as part of the project," said Gary Middleton.

So what caused this? James Swanson is an engineering professor at UC and he says tearing down or building structures is a very complicated process.

"That's when most of the bridges are least stable," said James Swanson.

Swanson doesn't believe weather or not infrastructure played a role, and believes it was simply a construction accident. He speculates that an expansion joint at one end of the structure may have contributed.

"There are joints in most bridges that allow for that expansion and contraction to occur without creating stresses and strains within the structure," said Swanson.

Officials originally said I-75 south would be closed for 48 hours, but on Tuesday said they changed that to indefinitely. As far as the investigation, it's now in the hands of ODOT and OSHA.

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