You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Overpass Barrier on Washington Highway Falls; Kills Family

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/16/2015 Megan Stewart

America's highway infrastructure has been on the decline for the past decade, with reports of debris falling onto cars unfortunately becoming more common. This week in Bonney Lake, Wash., a family was driving underneath a highway overpass when concrete from a construction project fell from the overpass and crushed their car, killing the young couple and their infant son.

Seattle overpass debris accident© Provided by MotorTrend Seattle overpass debris accident

Witnesses described the event as loud crunching noises before a slab of concrete landed square on the roof of the unfortunate family's vehicle. "I was just a second or two behind him, Dawn Nelson told CNN affiliate KOMO. "I could hear the three crunch sounds and then it just came down." Others thought a semi fell from the overpass. Katie Vance told the station: "It was a metal sound and a very heavy sound … it was through your feet -- like a guttural. It shook the whole house."

Research

Investigators spent nine hours digging through the debris to determine just how many died when the debris fell. Authorities claimed a construction project on the highway caused a side jersey barrier to loosen up and fall onto the roadway.

Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson went on record to share his belief that the construction team, which was set to demolish the barriers as part of a project to improve pedestrian safety on the overpass, failed to comply with its own plan. "What was indicated to us is that demolition wasn't going to happen for another week or two," he said in a statement. Flaggers were on standby, but didn't stop traffic from driving under the overpass.

While this incident is the apparent result of poor construction planning, other instances of crumbling infrastructure have been occurring across the country. In 2007, a bridge over the Mississippi River on the I-35 in Minneapolis collapsed without warning and killed 13 people. While government spending to keep the highway system in America has increased significantly, it isn't enough to maintain all 47,840 miles. These roads were never meant to support the amount of traffic that frequents the different highways, but with the right upkeep and increase of funding, accidents like this could be prevented.

Source: CNN, Seattle Times

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Motor Trend

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon