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Pedestrian bridge collapses onto DC freeway, injuring several people

<i>DC Fire and EMS/Twitter</i><br/>
DC Fire and EMS/Twitter

By Melissa Alonso and Eric Levenson, CNN

A pedestrian bridge that likely was struck by at least one vehicle collapsed onto Interstate 295 in Washington, DC, injuring several people and blocking the highway in both directions, officials said Wednesday.

Chris Geldart, acting deputy mayor for public safety and justice, told reporters that preliminary evidence shows that a collision involving multiple vehicles occurred 10 minutes before noon. The bridge came off its moorings.

The span collapsed at Kenilworth Avenue before Polk Street NE, DC Fire and EMS said in a tweet. “We don’t have any structural concerns about the bridge. It was last inspected in February,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said.

Geldart said five people taken to hospitals had non-life-threatening injuries.

Images posted by DC Fire and EMS and aerial footage from CNN affiliate WJLA show one side of the bridge fell onto I-295 southbound, while the part of the bridge on the northbound side remains mostly attached to an elevated platform.

Mangled concrete and metal debris are sprawled across six lanes of highway and the bridge rests on top of several vehicles.

A hazmat unit was on scene mitigating a diesel fuel leak from a truck that is partially beneath the bridge, and at least one other vehicle was struck by debris, DC Fire and EMS said.

All lanes on I-295 were blocked north of Benning Avenue, according to a tweet from Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination (MATOC). Northbound delays stretched about 3 miles, while southbound lanes had delays of approximately 1.5 miles as of 1 p.m. ET, MATOC said.

Washington Metropolitan Police Department are in the early stages of investigating the collapse, said department spokesperson Alaina Gertz.

Geldart said it could take through Thursday to get the bridge moved off the highway. He said the bridge will likely need to be replaced but the city needs to inspect the damage first.

Inspectors are looking at other bridges in the area, Geldart said.

CNN’s Steve Almasy and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.

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