Philadelphia

Concrete Chunk Falls from ‘Decrepit’ Bridge Landing on Passing Car

A driver is lucky to be alive after a large piece of concrete fell from a crumbling train bridge in South Philadelphia, called "decrepit" by a local lawmaker, and smashed into their car's windshield Friday.

The silver BMW sedan was traveling along 25th Street near Dickinson in Point Breeze when the chunk fell off the 25th Street Viaduct that carries CSX cargo trains through the city, police said. It landed on the car's passenger side, destroying the windshield.

The driver was not hurt, but was shaken, police said.

"They really need to do something before somebody is killed," said Ronald Robinson, who witnessed the incident. "It's crazy."

The 1.2 mile elevated bridge, which can carry 20 trains a day shuttling products like crude oil across the city, is visibly damaged. Small pieces of concrete litter the four-lane roadway which runs beneath it. Rebar is exposed in places where concrete has worn away.

Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who represents the district where the viaduct resides, has voiced concerns about the bridge in the past — calling for CSX to make repairs.

"It's decrepit, it's falling apart," he said. Earlier this month, the railroad company announced the bridge would undergo a 5-year-long renovation to address safety concerns. The project is set to begin in June with engineers first wrapping the entire structure in debris netting.

"The incident today shows we should start immediately cause it's important," Johnson said. "We don't want to risk somebody else riding under this bridge and a catastrophe happening."

Officials said it appeared the falling concrete was the result of a clogged drainage system that runs through the viaduct's round columns. A CSX spokesman said the company regrets the incident.

Police have closed 25th Street between Tasker and Dickinson as a precaution until permanent repairs are made.

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