Second Anniversary of Fern Hollow Bridge Collapse Highlights Urgent Need for Corrosion Control in National Infrastructure


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Sunday, January 28, 2024, marks the second anniversary of the tragic Fern Hollow bridge collapse near Frick Park in Pittsburgh. This tragedy brought to light the significant vulnerabilities in America's infrastructure, with a particular focus on the critical issue of corrosion.

The Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP), the global authority in materials protection and performance, is at the forefront of establishing standards and training to enhance infrastructure maintenance. A key part of AMPP's mission involves advocating for important legislation, such as the Bridge Corrosion Prevention and Repair Act, sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

Senator Casey emphasized the importance of this legislation in the context of infrastructure safety.

“The Fern Hollow Bridge collapse underscored the importance of taking corrosion prevention seriously. We need strong federal standards to make sure that we are using properly trained workers and leveraging existing expertise when performing this vital work on our Nation’s bridges,” he said. “The Bridge Corrosion Prevention and Repair Act will ensure we invest Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act dollars responsibly — using proven practices and experienced workers who make Pennsylvania’s bridges safer and stronger.”

Adding to the urgency of this matter, Tim Gonzalez, the AMPP Director of Advocacy and Corporate Outreach, highlighted the broader implications of such legislation.

"As we mark the second anniversary of the Fern Hollow bridge collapse, President Biden's recent warning about the deteriorating John A. Blatnik Memorial Bridge underscores the urgent need for proactive corrosion prevention,” Gonzalez remarked. “AMPP supports the Bridge Corrosion Prevention and Repair Act, championed by Sen. Bob Casey, as a crucial legislative effort to ensure federal standards, trained workers, and the prevention of catastrophic failures in America's infrastructure."

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on the Fern Hollow incident further reinforced the critical nature of these issues. The report detailed how more than 10,000 bridges in the United States have been built using uncoated weathering steel, which, if properly maintained, can last for decades. However, failure to maintain such structures can lead to significant corrosion, deterioration, and reduced safety and service life.

In light of the Fern Hollow tragedy and recent concerns raised by President Biden, AMPP reiterates the need for stringent corrosion control measures in the design, construction, and maintenance of critical infrastructure. Through their guidelines and training focused on material selection, surface preparation, application and inspection of coatings, and cathodic protection systems, AMPP plays a vital role in preventing corrosion-related deterioration and ensuring the safety and longevity of essential structures.

The Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP) is a global community of professionals focused on the protection of assets and the performance of industrial and natural materials. AMPP was established in 2021 following a merger between NACE International and SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings. The new association unites 145 years of corrosion control and protective coatings expertise and service to industry and members worldwide. Today, AMPP is the world’s largest corrosion control and protective coatings organization, serving more than 34,000 members in more than 140 countries. AMPP is headquartered in the United States with offices in Houston and Pittsburgh, and additional offices in Brazil, Canada, China, Dubai (training center), Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.