Piece of 25th Street Bridge Falls on Street

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chunks of a Philadelphia bridge broke off and crashed onto the street below. Residents say this has happened before and that something needs to be done. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez has the story. (Published Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014)

    Less than a week after a Philadelphia councilman raised concerns about deteriorating bridges in the city, a piece of concrete from a bridge in the Grays Ferry section was found on the street.

    A passerby snapped a picture of a large piece of the 25th Street Bridge that had fallen on 25th Street and Washington Avenue. Thomas Mosher, a spokesman for city councilman Kenyatta Johnson, sent the photo to NBC10.

    “Following up on the press tour we had last week, we've just been informed that a large piece of the 25th Street Bridge we brought you all to last week has fallen,” Mosher said. “The Councilman is adamant that CSX must come and address the concerns of the people of Philadelphia.”

    CSX, the company responsible for the safety of the bridge, sent crews to remove the concrete from the street Tuesday afternoon.

    "The piece was identified in a routine inspection and crews and equipment were brought in today to take it down," said a CSX spokesman.  "Crews will now replace the section that was taken down.  The work was done safely and by plan, with the area underneath secured."

    Armand Salloum, who owns a business along 25th Street, says he's been clearing falling debris from the bridge for the past three decades. He also claims the conditions have only worsened in recent years.

    "Everybody who sees this bridge is always afraid of it," Salloum said. "Our customers come by and they say, 'Oh my God.'"

    Salloum fears that someone could eventually lose their life if the deterioration continues.

    "This is concrete we're dealing with," Salloum said. "It just takes a chunk this big to go through a windshield and you're done." 

    Last Thursday, Councilman Johnson, who serves as the chair of the Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities, held a press tour of the 25th Street Bridge. He also demanded answers from CSX regarding a train derailment that occurred earlier in the month.

    Back on January 20, a train derailed near the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76), between South and 34th Streets. According to CSX spokesman Gary Sease, the 101-car freight train was headed from Chicago to Philadelphia when seven cars derailed on the Schuylkill Arsenal Railroad Bridge where it crosses over the Schuylkill Expressway and River from University City to Grays Ferry -- just south of the South Street Bridge. No injuries were reported but CSX officials still have not yet revealed the cause.

    “I’ve had concerns about the state of our bridges and other vital infrastructure for a while now,” Johnson said. “I have contacted CSX numerous times with the concerns and complaints that have been brought to my attention by people of the 2nd Councilmanic District and others.”

    NBC10 spoke with Johnson again after Tuesday's incident.

    "We want CSX to be held accountable to how they maintain their bridges and their railways," he said. "More importantly, what's their plan? So we can stop further issues like this from happening in the future."

    A CSX spokesman claims that the company has kept in touch with Johnson and his office.

    "CSX has been in communication with Councilman's Johnson's office, and we understand his concerns and those of his constituents regarding the concrete," the spokesman said. "While the bridge is regularly inspected and structurally safe for train movements, we will work to better address these concerns."

    Salloum isn't buying it however and says he's complained about the bridge before but that little has been done.

    "It's never fun," he said. "They're never very responsive."

    Johnson says he and representatives from CSX will have a conference call Wednesday afternoon.