Deadly Train Derailment Destroys Highway: Coal and Carnage Cover Interstate

Deadly Train Derailment Destroys Highway: Coal and Carnage Cover Interstate

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.

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