Skip Navigation

Sign In or Register

West-virginia-encyclopedia-text

SharePrint Silver Bridge Collapse

Silver_bridge1_medium

On Friday, December 15, 1967, at about 5 p.m., the bridge spanning the Ohio River at Point Pleasant collapsed. The Silver Bridge, so named because it was the first bridge in the area to be painted with aluminum paint, had been designed by the J. E. Greiner Company of Baltimore. It was the first bridge built in the United States using an innovative eyebar-link suspension system rather than wire-cable suspension. The eyebar chain was a series of flat metal links held together using high-strength, heat-treated carbon steel eyebars. These eyebars were of varying lengths and about two inches thick and 12 inches wide, bolted to each other and to vertical suspension bars which descended to support the deck below. The bridge was built by the American Bridge Company of Pittsburgh and opened to traffic on May 19, 1928.

There were 37 vehicles on the bridge with 67 people in them at the time of the collapse. Of these vehicles, 31 fell with the bridge. Twenty-one people escaped injury or were rescued from the river. There was a total of 46 fatalities, including five killed on the Ohio shore. For 16 days federal, state, local, and private organizations conducted extensive rescue and recovery operations.

The National Transportation Safety Board later determined that the cause of the bridge collapse was a ‘‘cleavage fracture in the lower limb of the eye of eyebar 330.’’ The crucial flaw ‘‘was inaccessible to visual inspection,’’ it was stated, and could not have been detected by any known method without disassembly of the eyebar joint. The accident and the resulting National Transportation Safety Board’s report led to the passage of legislation for a national bridge inspection and safety program.

 

e-WV presents West Virginia Public Broadcasting on the Silver Bridge Collapse

 

This Article was written by Gerald W. Sutphin

Last Revised on October 14, 2013

Related Articles


Sources

Silver Bridge Collapse, after Action Report. Huntington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1968.

Cite This Article

Sutphin, Gerald W. "Silver Bridge Collapse." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 14 October 2013. Web. 25 October 2014.

Comments?

So far, this article has 1 comment.

West Virginia Humanities Council | 1310 Kanawha Blvd E | Charleston, WV 25301 Ph. 304-346-8500 | © 2014 All Rights Reserved

About e-WV | Our Sponsors | Help & Support | Contact Us The essential guide to the Mountain State can be yours today! Click here to order.