Walnut Street Bridge collapsed 24 years ago


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – One of the most memorable natural disasters in recent local history occurred 24 years ago today.

On January 20, 1996, part of the Walnut Street Bridge in Harrisburg collapsed.

Following the blizzard of ’96, rising temperatures and heavy rain caused ice jams on the Susquehanna River. As large chunks of ice piled up behind the bridge’s western span, two sections collapsed and were carried downstream before crashing into the Market Street Bridge.

Teresa Irvin McCurdy videotaped the collapse from Negley Park in Lemoyne.

“I had no idea I was being part of history,” McCurdy said Monday.

“All of a sudden, a lady yelled the bridge was falling, and I zoomed in on it and I could not believe it was happening before my eyes.”

McCurdy says she occasionally thinks about that weekend 24 years ago.

“I can still hear the sound of the metal hitting the bridge after all these years, even without listening to it,” she said.

The missing spans were never replaced. McCurdy is not optimistic it will be repaired.

“It would be nice to put something back up like it used to be,” she said. “They estimated $23 million, although it would be nice, I am also a practical person.”

“There are bridges we have to focus on.”

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