A recent bridge accident on Colonial Parkway near Williamsburg serves as a reminder of the danger posed by aging or damaged bridges.
The bridge, over Powhatan Creek between Williamsburg and Jamestown, was struck by an unidentified boat on July 24, the National Park Service told The Virginian-Pilot. No one involved reported the crash and authorities were not notified until recreational boaters noticed the damage afterwards.
The Daily Press of Newport News reported that the bridge will be closed for at least four months while the damaged bridge piling is repaired. The repairs will coincide with a planned resurfacing of the bridge.
“First and foremost, we are thankful that the Powhatan Creek bridge did not collapse beneath the weight of any vehicles prior to the discovery of the damage and that this very serious situation caused no injuries,” Park Superintendent Dan Smith wrote in a statement on the National Park Service Web site. “We recognize the importance of the Colonial Parkway to the local transportation system as well as area tourism and are working to fix the damage and reopen the Parkway as quickly and safely as possible.”
America’s aging infrastructure is vulnerable to accidents like the one near Williamsburg. In 2007, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing 13 and injuring 145.
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