Ed Driscoll

Can I Take 'Em To The Bridge?

James Brown’s famous refrain will have to be put on hiatus for an extended period in San Fransisco, CNN notes:

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge was shut down Tuesday and was expected to stay closed indefinitely after a piece of the bridge fell onto the roadway, the California Highway Patrol said.

The piece of steel and cable that fell from overhead initially caused a minor car accident, which backed up traffic for miles, said CHP Officer Peter Van Eckhardt. No one was injured in the accident.

That section of the bridge, which had recently been repaired, will be reinspected before the span reopens, officials said.

All eastbound and westbound lanes were shut down at 8 p.m. PT Tuesday, Van Eckhardt said.

Public transit agencies throughout the Bay Area were told to brace for an expected increase in ridership Wednesday, the officer added.

About 280,000 vehicles cross the Bay Bridge every day, according to the California Department of Transportation.

A 50-foot section of the bridge collapsed in 1989 during the Loma Prieta earthquake, killing one person, prompting efforts to make it quake-tolerant.

There’s a fascinating new media twist to the story though: Jennifer Van Grove of Mashable.com notes that the first photo of the bridge cable hitting the deck was Tweeted by a commuter shortly (very shortly) after the incident occurred:

While this is certainly not the first time that a Twitter user tweeted breaking news before mainstream media outlets — there’s plenty of incidents like the Jakarta bombings and Hudson plane crash to reference — it certainly serves as another telling example of the power of Twitter as a communication platform.

As old media continues its death spiral while concurrently iPhones, Blackberries and pocket-sized HD cameras continue to proliferate, expect more and more stories to be broken first via citizen journalists, rather than the more grizzled “pros.”