Remembering the Marcy pedestrian bridge collapse of 2002

In the aftermath of a pedestrian bridge collapse in Florida that killed at least six people, the Mohawk Valley remembers a similar incident in Marcy in 2002.

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 6:10 PM

Florida rescue crews worked through the night into Friday, searching through the rubble of what’s left of a 950-ton pedestrian bridge that collapsed Thursday, killing at least six people. The pedestrian bridge was set into place just five days ago.

Locally, we experienced a similar tragedy back in 2002 when a pedestrian bridge collapsed in Marcy.

On Oct. 11, 2002, a pedestrian bridge that was under construction across State Route 49 collapsed, killing Scott Couchman of Mohawk and injuring nine others.

Several members of the Maynard Fire Department along with New York State Troopers who were stationed just miles away remember hearing workers call out for help under the twisted metal and concrete. It took roughly 45 minutes to pull them from the wreckage.

Investigators determined the collapse occurred where the concrete deck was being placed. Eyewitnesses said the bridge had been noticeably bouncy when the concrete was placed, and when it reached the middle of the bridge, it began to twist and roll before tipping off the abutments.

The bridge was nearing completion, similar to the south Florida bridge, and was planned to connect a residential area for students to walk across to get to Whitesboro High School.

Lawsuits and investigations quickly got underway, and New York State Was accused of violating labor laws in connection with the incident. It was decided that no criminal charges would be filed as a result of the bridge collapse.

A report from the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office says the designer, building and overseer of the project were individually examined.

The investigation found that there was no inferior materials used in the bridge’s construction.

The collapse is now used as an example to engineering schools around the country of what could go wrong is designs are not thoroughly examined.

NEWSChannel 2 reached out to Dan Crossway, who was the acting fire chief for the Maynard Fire Department at the time, and he was unavailable but he says it was a day he’ll never forget.

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