President Joe Biden visited the site of a collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh on Friday, a detour during a pre-planned trip to the region to promote bipartisan legislation aimed at strengthening the nation’s infrastructure.
With the smell of gas still in the air from the crash, Biden spoke to officials at the site.
“We’re going to fix them all,” Biden said of bridges in Pittsburgh and across the country. “We send the money.”
The two-lane bridge collapsed around 6am, leaving a bus hanging over what was left of the span.
Gas lines along the bridge ruptured, forcing some nearby residents to evacuate.
It is unclear whether the collapse was caused by an explosion in the gas line or if the gas line leaked after the collapse, police told Biden.
Looking down at the snow-covered, collapsed bridge deck topped with overturned cars, Biden asked about the rescue efforts.
Told that a jogger at the scene had helped get people out of their vehicles, Biden expressed amazement.
“It’s a miracle, Mr. President,” said an officer.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that rescuers had to rappel nearly 150 feet and formed a human chain to pick up those who remained on the bus. On Friday morning, only minor injuries were reported.
Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse:10 injured, 3 taken to hospital after snow-covered bridge collapses in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Bureau Fire Chief Darryl Jones said three or four vehicles were involved in the collapse and there were 10 minor injuries and three people taken to hospital. None of the injuries were life-threatening, Jones said.
Authorities told motorists to avoid the area.
Before Biden left Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a tweet Biden “has been notified of the bridge collapse in Pittsburgh. Our team is in contact with state and local authorities on the ground as they continue to gather information on the cause of the collapse.”
Biden was scheduled to stop in Pittsburgh on Friday before the bridge collapsed as part of a tour aimed at selling the infrastructure law to the public. The law provides $1.2 trillion for improvements to roads, airports, public transportation and other infrastructure. It includes $110 billion for roads and bridges.
More than 46,000 bridges in the United States are considered “structurally deficient”, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Contribute: The Associated Press