A foot bridge at the I- 295 near Polk Road NE collapsed when it was hit by a truck, District officials said Wednesday afternoon.
Around 11:52 a.m. a truck struck the foot bridge, separating it from mooring, said Acting Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Christopher Geldart at a press conference June 23.
Multiple cars were involved, Geldart said. Five passengers sustained non-life-threatening injuries. All were transferred to hospital.
Geldart said that the collapse was believed to have been caused by the collision. A crime investigation is underway, he added .”We were very lucky, all of us,” Geldert said.
It could take until Thursday or even later for the bridge to be moved from the area. Heavy trains are necessary to move the rubble and damaged vehicles from the area. An estimate of repair and replacement is underway, especially of the moorings, to determine a timeline to rebuild the structure. Geldart said that the District would examine other bridges along the truck path along the 295 to see if any others were impacted.
The bridge height limit, which is 14 feet, is marked prior to bridge entry. Geldert said the truck itself could have successfully passed under the bridge but had a rear container that could be elevated. That possibility is under investigation.
The truck remained trapped under the bridge. Two fuel tanks on either side of the vehicle were ruptured and leaked; DC Fire Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) stopped the leak, and the truck remains in place until it can be safely handled.
There were no structural concerns with the bridge, said Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), which was last inspected in February, 2021, when the moorings were found to be structurally sound. Geldert said this is the first accident of the type in the District where part of the bridge came down. An earlier incident involved cargo falling from a train on a bridge, but the structure itself was not part of the accident.
I-295 is closed in bother directions with no access from US-50/New York Avenue split to the 695 interchange. The closure is expected to last until at least Thursday at 10 p.m. Commuters are asked to pay attention to traffic alerts to avoid the area.