A catastrophic train derailment in southern Colorado left one dead under a ton of twisted metal and coal.
When an aging railroad bridge collapsed on Sunday, it took a semi-truck driver’s life and transformed a major highway into a disaster zone. The violent derailment near Pueblo saw over a dozen train cars demolished and their loads of Powder River Basin coal scattered across the road.
Images from the scene show mangled wheels, collapsed bridge parts and a truck buried under a black avalanche. How the bridge failed remains a mystery, but investigators from the NTSB have arrived to find the cause.
The obliterated overpass now blocks traffic on the key Interstate 25 corridor, disrupting freight and commerce between Denver and New Mexico. With the highway cut off and the poisonous dust still settling, emergency services had their work cut out rescuing stranded motorists.
Local ranchers now face problems transporting livestock to market. The disaster is a major setback for industrial and economic activity in southern Colorado’s agricultural region. With a full closure expected for the foreseeable future, truckers will be forced to reroute hundreds of miles on lesser country roads.
How the aging infrastructure crumbled with such devastating consequences is still under investigation. But this isn’t the first bridge to buckle under the weight of modern cargo. In recent years, other trestles have suddenly collapsed in Montana and Pennsylvania, trapping trains and contaminating waterways.
As vehicles and loads grow ever heavier, the vulnerabilities of our outmoded bridges are being exposed with sometimes fatal results. Lawmakers must address our decaying infrastructure before more lives are lost under cascades of coal or oil.