Portion of railroad bridge collapses in Syracuse; mayor says nobody hurt

A portion of a railroad bridge collapsed in Syracuse Thursday. (Photojournalist Quindell Williams)

A portion of a railroad bridge in downtown Syracuse has collapsed, causing closures in the area and bringing rail traffic to a halt.

Emergency crews blocked off the area of West Onondaga Street and South Clinton Street after part of a bridge collapsed in Syracuse Thursday afternoon. Mayor Ben Walsh said those closures would continue indefinitely until the area is safely cleared of debris.

Officials said Thursday evening a section of the sidewall on the bridge that didn't fall off will also be removed due to concerns it could later crumble. Temporary lighting will be brought to the site to allow that work and the clearing of debris to go on into the night, Walsh said.

Calls of a possible bridge collapse first came in just after 1 p.m. Thursday. Part of a railroad bridge that passes over the area fell off, bringing down wires in the area.

Mayor Walsh said at a briefing Thursday afternoon that nobody was hurt when the section of bridge tumbled to the ground.

Mayor Walsh said the bridge is owned by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway and he wasn't aware of any prior calls or complaints about the bridge crumbling.

Crews will inspect the rest of the railway track that runs through the city, officials said. Inspectors form the railway and the Federal Railroad Administration all responded to the site.

"Thankfully no one was hurt. This is an area that has heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic and the fact that no one was hurt is very fortunate," Walsh said.

A spokesperson for the railway said inspectors, engineers and the president of the company were all making their way to the collapse site Thursday afternoon.

"Right now everyone is concentrating on getting this cleaned up and back open as soon as possible," the spokesperson said.

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