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1.14.2015

1996 Walnut Street Bridge Collapse Harrisburg: Today

After one of the most dramatic weather events in Pennsylvania history, the Blizzard of 1996, an ice jam formed during the subsequent meltdown of the two to three feet of snow. The weather was so extreme that it took out the main span of a 106 year old truss bridge that crossed the Susquehanna. One of the other most extreme weather events that Pennsylvania has experienced, Hurricane Agnes in 1972, weakened the bridge to the point that it was only used for pedestrian use. The ice flows from the Blizzard of 1996 meltdown were the final blow to this being a complete span. You can see the dramatic film of the collapse in this video:
Fast forward to 2015! We sought out the bridge after our trip to check out the Pennsylvania Farm Show and the Pennsylvania Capitol Complex. The disconnected span was never fully torn down, creating a unique view of a disconnected bridge and a testament to the power of nature. The freezing Susquehanna River also seems reminiscent of that fateful day. I hope once the ice starts melting down this time, that there are no issues like this or floods along the river.
 Compared to the video, you can really see how high that water was.
There is something really soothing about listening to the river with the ice flowing and crackling. I took this video to capture that beautiful sound.
video

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