7 Injured as Missouri Highway Buckles after Railcars Hit Overpass

Injuries not serious in incident that began when two freight trains collided

 

 
 
 

| Tuesday, May 28, 2013

GALLERIES

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Missouri Overpass Buckles After Train Derails

Seven people in two cars on a highway overpass in Missouri were injured, none seriously, when two 40-foot sections of the overpass crumpled when railcars derailed during a cargo train crash smashed into the bridge's support pillars.
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CHAFFEE, Missouri (AP) — Cleanup of the collapsed southeast Missouri highway overpass continued Sunday, more than 24 hours after a cargo train crash led to a chain reaction.

The crash, which happened about 2:30 a.m. Saturday near Chaffee, led to the derailment of about two dozen rail cars that smashed into the bridge's support pillars. Seven people in two cars on the highway overpass in Scott County were injured, none seriously, when two 40-foot (12-meter) sections of the overpass crumpled. All seven had been released from an area hospital Saturday.

"The damage is very extensive," Mark Shelton, engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation's southeast region, said Sunday. "We're going to end up removing the entire bridge and completely replacing it."

Shelton said the overpass replacement is estimated to cost about $3 million, and the bridge is expected to reopen in early September.

The overpass, which was built about 15 years ago, is used by about 400 to 500 cars a day, mostly between Chaffee, Scott City and Cape Girardeau. The National Transportation Safety Board said the bridge was given a "good" rating after its last inspection in February.

The railroads would likely paying for the replacement, but the investigation into the cause of the accident was still in its early stages, Shelton said.

"We'll have to go through the investigation and all that stuff and figure out liability. But our bridge was just standing there. ... So certainly we'll be looking to the railroad for recovery," he said.

The collapse occurred after a Union Pacific train hit the side of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at a rail intersection.

Shelton said crews were at the scene Sunday cleaning up debris and removing sections of the bridge. The derailed rail cars were loaded primarily with scrap metal, automobiles and auto parts.

The NTSB has begun an investigation into the cause of the collision. NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said Saturday that the full investigation could take a year.

The accident came more than a week after a commuter train derailment in Connecticut that injured 70 people and disrupted service for days. That accident involved a railroad corridor used by tens of thousands of commuters north of New York City.

In Washington state this past week, a bridge over the Skagit River collapsed when a truck driver's load bumped against the steel framework.

Sumwalt said while the investigations into both collapses are in the early stages "there is no similarity" between the Missouri accident and the bridge collapse in Washington, which sent two vehicles and three people falling into the chilly water. They were not seriously hurt.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Missouri Overpass Buckles After Train Derails

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Buckled Overpass

A car lies between damaged sections of a highway overpass near Rockview, Mo. Seven people were injured, though none seriously. AP Photo/KFVS, Michael Mohundro


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Emergency Response

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a train derailment near Rockview, Mo. on Saturday, May 25, 2013. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the cause of a cargo train collision that partially collapsed a highway overpass in southeast Missouri, injuring seven people. AP Photo/The Southeast Missourian, Fred Lynch


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Damaged Railcars

Damaged railcars lie on the ground near Rockview, Mo. AP Photo/KFVS, Michael Mohundro


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Looking for Answers

Emergency personnel investigate the Route M overpass at Rockview, Mo., about 10 miles south of Cape Girardeau, Mo., after it collapsed onto the railroad tracks. AP Photo/The Southeast Missourian, Fred Lynch


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Damaged Inventory

New vehicles being transported on a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train poke out of their damaged railcar after a Union Pacific train collided with it at Rockview, Mo. Saturday, May 25, 2013. AP Photo/The Southeast Missourian, Fred Lynch


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Surveying the Scene

Officials survey the scene just east of the Route M overpass where several train cars derailed on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train near Rockview, Mo. on Saturday, May 25, 2013. AP Photo/Southeast Missourian, Fred Lynch



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