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Elderly couple killed in freak bridge collapse

It's a seemingly normal day and at first glance, apparently uneventful driving conditions. The last thing on one couple's mind was watching out for a freight train hurtling down a cliff towards their vehicle after falling off a bridge. Yet that is precisely what happened to a Glenview couple, while they were driving just a few blocks south of their home. The crash made the incident nationwide news after a freight train hauling coal on the viaduct in record-breaking 100 plus degree heat plunged off the bridge. Witnesses to the north reportedly watching as the cars slowly rumbled off the tracks, down a precipice, over the bridge and ended up in billowing plumes of black coal dust.

Witnesses from as far away as Patriot Boulevard were able to see the smoke. The Federal Railroad Administration speculated that intense heat had caused the compressed tracks to bend and rupture, resulting in the derailment.

Local officials investigated the condition of the water pipes under Shermer Road following a derailment that occurred over a year ago. Although the multi-million-dollar bridge was put in a little over a month ago, the road has been closed while the authorities complete their assessment of the kind of breakage leading up to the accidents.

Both counties own the water lines and sewers. The Illinois Department of Transportation has promised to end the road closure in the fall of next year. Based on preliminary inspection data, the 28-car freight train will undergo extensive damage reports thanks to the Nebraska Union Pacific Railroad Company.

According to engineers, the priorities are to repair and get the road back into service as soon as possible. Depending on the weather, tentative goals hint that a spring deadline is on the horizon, widening the bridge's span and incorporating a bike path on its east side.

Car accidents occur at alarming rates on our public roads. Some mishaps cannot be anticipated like or a derailed freight train plummeting down an embankment and crashing into a car. In recent times, other tragedies seem to involve human error in the operation of railways and trains. It is wise to stay mindful of transportation events around us, as well as to stay informed of any rights to compensation when injured.

Source: suntimes.com, "Glenview and Northbrook hope to open Shermer Road in spring" Todd Shields, Dec. 09, 2013

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