Live updates: Biden visits Pittsburgh in wake of bridge collapse to talk infrastructure

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Biden ends speech

Biden wraps up his speech at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood, saying, "Let's continue to give working families a fighting chance.”

- J.D. Prose

An emotional Biden

Touting the benefits of his infrastructure package, Biden also talked about easing the burden on the middle-class and working families, and helping those who are unable to provide for their children.

More: Pennsylvania has 3,353 bridges in poor condition. Search our county-by-county bridge database

"It strips you of your dignity, dammit!” an emotional Biden shouted into the microphone.

- J.D. Prose

President name checks Wabtec

After discussing the importance of semi-conductors in modern manufacturing, Biden talked about a deal for battery-powered locomotives built by Pittsburgh-based Wabtech Corp. with batteries from General Motors.

Much of the construction work on the massive locomotives will be done in Erie.

More: 'This is a significant order': Wabtec sells 4 more Erie-built electric locomotives

"It matters, it matters a lot," Biden said.

- J.D. Prose

President Joe Biden speaks about the importance of infrastructure funding in Pittsburgh on Jan. 28, 2022, shortly after touring the site of a bridge collapse in Frick Park earlier in the day.
President Joe Biden speaks about the importance of infrastructure funding in Pittsburgh on Jan. 28, 2022, shortly after touring the site of a bridge collapse in Frick Park earlier in the day.

Biden begins remarks

Biden mentions the Pittsburgh bridge collapse early in his speech, saying ignoring infrastructure “can really threaten lives.”

Officials said 10 people were hurt and four were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening when the bridge in Frick Park collapsed around 6:30 a.m. Friday.

“We're going to rebuild that bridge along with thousands of other bridges in Pennsylvania and across the country," Biden said.

- J.D. Prose

President Joe Biden spoke about the importance of infrastructure funding in Pittsburgh shortly after the collapse of a bridge in Frick Park Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.
President Joe Biden spoke about the importance of infrastructure funding in Pittsburgh shortly after the collapse of a bridge in Frick Park Friday, Jan. 28, 2022.

Almost Biden time

President Biden toured a Carnegie Mellon University-related tech development hub at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh and is now waiting to take the stage after several officials finish giving remarks.

- J.D. Prose

Fetterman was recently on bridge

Speaking to the USA TODAY Network earlier today at the scene of the bridge collapse, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said it was "astonishing there weren't fatalities." Fetterman, who lives in nearby Braddock, said he traveled on that bridge yesterday.

"Pennsylvania has thousands of structurally deficient bridges, and we need to use the infrastructure money to ensure this never happens again," Fetterman said. "President Biden has always been ahead of the curve. He ran on infrastructure, and he delivered. Today is a perfect example why this is a key priority."

- Candy Woodall

Man shows support for BBB

Taiji Nelson holds a sign supporting President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan at the scene of the Frick Park bridge collapse on Friday.
Taiji Nelson holds a sign supporting President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan at the scene of the Frick Park bridge collapse on Friday.

Taiji Nelson, with the Sunrise Movement Pittsburgh, held a sign reading, “Pittsburgh supports Build Back Better” outside the scene for hours Friday morning. Nelson worked at the Frick Environmental Center for a decade, he said.

“I drove over this bridge all the time,” he said. “My brother just bought a house in Pittsburgh, I was recommending he move to this neighborhood. So, this could’ve been me, people I love. We can’t afford to wait to invest in our cities. I’m here because I believe we can make big investments in infrastructure, but also I know that investments in infrastructure is a way to solve the climate crisis,” he said.

- Chrissy Suttles

"It was pretty scary"

Antonio Richards, 34, of Pittsburgh's Point Breeze neighborhood, said his 65-year-old aunt lives just blocks away from where the Frick Park bridge fell early Friday morning.

“She called me in a panic this morning,” he said. “She and I walk and drive across that bridge many times a week. She heard the rumbles as it collapsed, I guess, and called me thinking maybe a pipeline exploded or something. It was pretty scary. I’m honestly glad it was just this.”

- Chrissy Suttles

Native perspective: Patrick O'Shea: Pittsburgh bridge collapse shows deficient infrastructure needs to be addressed

President surveys bridge damage

Audience members wait for President Joe Biden to arrive at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood to discuss in $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan.
Audience members wait for President Joe Biden to arrive at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood to discuss in $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan.

Press pool video feed shows President Biden walking to edge of bridge collapse to survey damage, flanked by Sen. Bob Casey, Gov. Tom Wolf, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and other officials.

Biden chatted with a few Pittsburgh police officers who responded to the scene this morning, asking them about the danger that a broken gas line presented and whether there were joggers on a trail below the bridge.

Officers said the gas line was shut-off in 30 minutes and there were a few joggers underneath the bridge, but they were unhurt and some actually helped police remove victims.

Biden said he never knew that Pittsburgh had more bridges than any city in the world and that many are in poor condition.

"I had no idea," Biden said, "and we're going to fix them all."

- J.D. Prose

Biden arrives at bridge collapse

Live TV reports in Pittsburgh show that President Biden's motorcade has arrived at the site of the bridge collapse in Frick Park. He is then expected to go to Mill 19 in nearby Hazelwood to deliver a speech on the need for infrastructure funding.

- J.D. Prose

Biden arrives in Pittsburgh

President Biden arrived at Allegheny County Airport about 10 minutes ago and was greeted by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and Gov. Tom Wolf on the tarmac. Biden's motorcade is now heading to the site of the Frick Park bridge collapse in Pittsburgh.

- J.D. Prose

Report: Biden to visit bridge collapse site

Emergency responders and other officials view the damage left by a bridge collapse in Pittsburgh's Frick Park on Friday.
Emergency responders and other officials view the damage left by a bridge collapse in Pittsburgh's Frick Park on Friday.

KDKA-TV's Andy Sheehan, citing Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, is reporting that President Biden will visit the site of the Pittsburgh bridge collapse before he heads to his scheduled speech on infrastructure funding at Mill 19 in the city's Hazelwood neighborhood.

Air Force One is expected to land at Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin at about 12:50 p.m. and head to the bridge collapse. His infrastructure address was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

- J.D. Prose

"Wake-up call"

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who lives in nearby Braddock, went to the site and told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh that the collapse should serve as a "wake-up call for the nation" to invest in the country's infrastructure.

"I'm just grateful nobody was killed," Fetterman said.

- J.D. Prose

Biden mum on bridge site visit

President Biden did not answer questions about whether he would visit the bridge collapse site in Pittsburgh's Frick Park as he left the White House to board Marine One, according to a White House press pool update.

- J.D. Prose

"A miracle no one was killed"

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-18, who represents Pittsburgh, said, "It was a miracle no one was killed by the bridge collapse this morning," in a statement released late Friday morning.

Doyle said not having the bridge "will be a major challenge for our community" and will impact traffic in the city "for months to come, if not longer." He added that he has asked the White House, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to coordinate on rebuilding the bridge.

"This is a tragic example of why the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that Congress just enacted is so desperately needed. We should be consistently investing more in our infrastructure so our bridges and other public works don’t reach this point of disrepair," Doyle said.

- J.D. Prose

White House: Biden aware of collapse

Earlier this morning, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki released the following statement:

The President has been told of the bridge collapse in Pittsburgh. Our team is in touch with state and local officials on the ground as they continue to gather information about the cause of the collapse. The President is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time. The President will proceed with trip planned for today and will stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide.

Biden was initially scheduled to leave the White House at 11:10 a.m., but that has since been pushed to 11:30 a.m., according to a press pool report.

- J.D. Prose

Collapse serves as lesson

A Pittsburgh police car blocked a road leading to the site of a bridge collapse in the city's Frick Park on Friday.
A Pittsburgh police car blocked a road leading to the site of a bridge collapse in the city's Frick Park on Friday.

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb released a statement in which he noted that Allegheny County, in which Pittsburgh is located, has more structurally deficient bridges than any other county in the nation.

"The collapse of the Frick Park Bridge this morning is a reminder that investments in infrastructure are investments in public safety," said Lamb. "If we do not act, events like this will, unfortunately, continue to happen."

- J.D. Prose

Why Biden's in Pittsburgh

President Joe Biden's visit to Pittsburgh to tout his $1.2 trillion infrastructure package took on more significance when a bridge collapsed in a city park this morning.

The bridge carrying Forbes Avenue over Fern Hollow Creek in Frick Park collapsed around 6 a.m., injuring 10 people and sending four to the hospital, according to multiple reports.

Emergency vehicles are parked at the edge of a bridge that collapsed, Friday Jan. 28, 2022 in Pittsburgh's East End.
Emergency vehicles are parked at the edge of a bridge that collapsed, Friday Jan. 28, 2022 in Pittsburgh's East End.

Forbes bridge: Bridge collapses in Pittsburgh, stranding bus, other vehicles; three taken to hospital

Projects for PA: Here's some PA projects that could benefit from Biden's infrastructure bill

Photos showed a Port Authority bus teetering on a fallen portion of the bridge. An Authority spokesman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the bus driver and two passengers escaped and were not hurt.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Biden is still scheduled to speak at the 2 p.m. event in the city's Hazelwood neighborhood.

- J.D. Prose

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Biden visits Pittsburgh after bridge collapse to talk infrastructure

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