The Kinzua Bridge was hailed as the “Eighth wonder of the world”, when it was built in 1882. Back then it was the tallest bridge in the world. A record it only held in two years.
The original bridge was built, using wrought iron. Unfortunately this became a problem short after it’s construction, because the trains quickly outgrew the bridges weight limits, as they got bigger, longer and heavier.
So in 1900 the original wrought iron bridge was dismantled and rebuilt in steel.
The bridge was in used as a central part of the railroad service, until it was retired in 1959.
The State Park started renovating the bridge in 2002. Unfortunately a Tornado passed on the 21st of juli 2003, before the restoration was complete. Heavily corroded anchor bolts was one of the reasons that a large part of the bridge was knocked down.
The tornado brought wind speeds of approximately 150km/h, and caused 11 of the bridges 20 towers to collapse, in less than half a minute.
Luckily the builders had packed up before the storm arrived, so nobody was injured at the construction site. Except for the bridge it self.
Before the collapse, the bridge was still the fourth tallest railroad bridge in the United States of America.
Rebuilding the bridge would cost USD 45.000.000, so instead the remaining part was turned into a lookout point, with a glass floor. The collapsed towers were left where they fell, as a testament to the forces of nature.