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Civil Engineering Disasters – Collapse Of Bridges

September 11, 1916. Quebec Bridge (Canada)
This is not the first destruction of the bridge. The first time tragedy occurred in 1907.

About first collapse of the bridge – The bridge was nearing completion, when the local engineering began noticing increasing distortions of key structural members already in place. After four years of construction, the south arm and part of the central section of the bridge collapsed into the St. Lawrence River in just 15 seconds. Of the 86 workers on the bridge that day near quitting time, 75 were killed and the rest were injured.

About second collapse of the bridge – After a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the collapse, construction started on a second bridge, but September 11, 1916, when the central span was being raised into position, it fell into the river, killing 13 workers.


December 15, 1967. Silver Bridge (USA)
On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed while it was choked with rush hour traffic, resulting in the deaths of 46 people. Investigation of the wreckage pointed to the cause of the collapse being the failure of a single eye-bar in a suspension chain, due to a small defect only 0.1 inches (2.54 mm) deep. It was also noted that the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than it was originally designed for and was poorly maintained.The new bridge that replaced the Silver Bridge was named the Silver Memorial Bridge.

March 17, 1945. Ludendorff Bridge (Remagen, Germany)
28 U.S. army engineers were killed while working to strengthen the bridge, and 93 others were wounded.

May 9, 1980. Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Florida, USA)
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge was collapsed on May 9, 1980, when the freighter SS Summit Venture collided with a pier (support column) during a storm , sending over 1200 feet of the bridge plummeting into Tampa Bay. The collision caused six automobiles and a bus to fall 150 feet, killing 35 people.

June 28, 1983. Mianus River Bridge (Connecticut, USA)
Three people were killed when their vehicles fell with the bridge into the Mianus River 70 feet below, and three were seriously injured. Collapse due to failure of the Pin and Hanger assembly supporting the span.

October 21, 1994. Seongsu Bridge (Seoul, South Korea)

On October 21, 1994, Seongsu Bridge connecting Seongsu-dong and Apgujeong-dong of Gangnam-gu, Seoul, collapsed. The slab (48 m) between the fifth and the sixth leg of the Bridge collapsed so 32 people died and 17 people were injured. One of its concrete slabs fell due to a failure of the suspension structure. This structural failure was caused by joints of trusses (steel structures) supporting the bridge slab were not welded to the full; the welding thickness, which should be over 10mm, was only 8mm; and further, connecting pins for steel bolts were poor.

January 4, 1999. Rainbow bridge (China)
In January 4, 1999, a pedestrian Rainbow bridge across the Qi River in the Sichuan province collapsed three years after it was built. The collapse of the Rainbow bridge led to 40 deaths and 14 injuries. Parts of the bridge were rusty, concrete used in its construction was too weak and there were serious welding problems.

March 4 , 2001. Hintze Ribeiro Bridge (Castelo de Paiva, Portugal)
On March 4, 2001, the Hintze Ribeiro Bridge, made of steel and concrete, collapsed in Entre-os-Rios, Castelo de Paiva, Portugal, killing to 70 people, including those in a bus and three cars that were attempting to get to the other side of the river.

August 28, 2003. Bridge Daman (Daman, India)
At least 25 people, including 23 children, die when a bridge in the western coastal area of Daman collapsed into a muddy river, throwing a school bus, 10 vehicles and pedestrians into the swirling waters due to heavy rains.

November 7, 2005. (Almunecar, Spain)
Five Portuguese and one Spanish national died near Almunecar on Spain’s, after a 20-ton section of motorway viaduct fell from 80 meters onto workers below.

December 2, 2006. (Bihar, India)

Thirty-three people are killed when a 150-year-old bridge, being dismantled, crashed on the train near the Bhagalpur railway station in the state of Bihar.

August 1, 2007. Minneapolis I-35W bridge (Minneapolis, USA)
On August 1, 2007, during the evening rush hour, the main spans of the bridge collapsed, falling into the river and onto its banks. Thirteen people died and approximately one hundred more were injured. The 1,907-foot bridge fell into the Mississippi River. Currently under investigation.

August 13, 2007. Tuo River bridge (Hunan, China)
The 140-foot-high bridge spanning the Tuo River in the central Hunan city of Fenghuang collapsed as workers removed scaffolding from its facade. Investigation underway.

In case we missed some please feel free to write about it in the comment box and we will update it as soon as possible

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

If you have a query, you can ask a question here.

29 comments on "Civil Engineering Disasters – Collapse Of Bridges"

John says:

You missed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Tacoma Washington)

adnan aziz says:

u miss Karachi bridge

Shah Jignesh says:

You are also requested to mention accident held on site during construction, for Ex. slip of Girder, Collaps of Girder & slab at the time of Lowering, launching, shifting, stressing etc.

Ehab says:

I hope to add the cause of these mistakes

sivaklumar says:

execlent coverage

Engr Sheraz Hassan says:


Regars u Missed the Karachi bridge In Pakistan please update it as soon as possible. tht all engr can know about desaster at karachi

niraj says:

i was one of them who got through one of these bridge tragedy the one in daman on august 28 2003 by just few minutes

BALAJI says:


Eamonn O'Laocha says:

You missed the Second Narrows bridge in Vancouver, B.C.

dennis b. says:

may i support Ehab in requesting that you also nclude the causes of these
failures, we see whether there is a common cause in all of them.please.

vinay says:

can u pls put on the exact reasons y these ha been caused…..i am not satisfied by the above content….as a student of civil engg v require the scientific aspects precisely….kindly do it and oblige.

thanking u,


sarath says:

can u pls put the exact reasons for this collapses and as a civil engineering student i want to know clearly about this and pls mention the collapse of carachi bridge

vinoth says:

can you please put the disaster reasons.

Adam says:

The first photo of the second entry is not correct: that is not the Silver Bridge.

The Silver Bridge was a suspension eye-bar bridge across the Ohio River, and NOT an Interstate overpass.

char says:

is that the bridges in Hunan, China was the last collapsed,… about in Haiti……..maybe you should update that one……… :():thanks

yusuf hamza bako, ATBU says:

Why do natural disasters occur ? give reasons pls.

Er.B V G Rao says:

Excellent gathering.Better to add some sample detailed project reports on disaster management for the PG Level,
so that it will be more advantageous to
final year students and working professionals
Thanking you

Reddy says:

Punjagutta flyover, Hyderabad

Nahid says:

sher sha bridge must be added in this list which was collapsed at karachi on 1st sep 2007

will nonluecha says:

(Reuters) – At least 40 people were feared killed after a bridge under construction in the Indian state of Rajasthan collapsed, police said on Saturday.
The accident occurred when laborers working on the bridge being built over the Chambal river in the western state’s Kota city fell into the water after the metal structure collapsed late on Thursday, Rajeev Dasot, an inspector general of police said.”At least 40 people have died in the accident and we are now trying to recover their bodies,” Dasot told Reuters by telephone.

An inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances leading to the accident on the bridge, being jointly built by South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Gammon India, he said.

(Reporting by Bappa Majumdar; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

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