Fig. 1. Post-collapse scene at the Fern Hollow Bridge, photograph by National Transportation Safety Board, January 29, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Bigelow Boulevard is the main route around the Hill District. It has a 35 mile per hour speed limit but most people are doing, at the barest minimum, 15 over that; 20 to 25 over are not unusual. The suggested detours, except for the Bloomfield Bridge itself, are all already heavily traveled two-lane roads. This is gonna be ugly.
Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh to tear down pedestrian bridge over Bigelow Boulevard after crane boom strikes it,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 7, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-to-tear-down-pedestrian-bridge-over-bigelow-boulevard-after-crane-boom-strikes-it/
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Bigelow Boulevard closed in Polish Hill after crane strikes pedestrian bridge,” October 7, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/10/07/bigelow-boulevard-closed-pedestrian-bridge-crane-collision-detour-penndot/stories/202210070090
Fig. 2. “The atomic cloud over Nagasaki 1945.” Photograph from Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Overseas Operations Branch, New York Office, News and Features Bureau, (12/17/1942 – 09/15/1945), by Charles Levy, August 9, 1945, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
[Joe] Biden believes that only strength will keep [Vladimir] Putin from going to extremes. Jake Sullivan, the U.S. president’s national security adviser, recently warned of “catastrophic consequences” if Putin were to actually use nuclear weapons. No active military official wants to speak openly about what those consequences might be. But among experts, a massive U.S. conventional strike is considered likely if Putin were to detonate a tactical nuclear weapon. Earlier this week, former CIA head David Petraeus described quite concretely what an American response might look like. The former general believes a devastating U.S. military strike on the Russians’ Black Sea fleet is conceivable. Military sources say there is also talk of further arming the Ukrainians with additional missile launchers or even medium-range missiles. If this went hand in hand with the provision of significantly more targeting information by U.S. intelligence agencies, the scenario goes, the Ukrainians could inflict even more painful casualties on the Russian invaders than they have so far.
Meanwhile, there was an explosion on the Kerch Bridge, built between Russia and Crimea and inaugurated by Vladimir Putin in 2018. Ukrainian officials stop just short of claiming responsibility, even as they celebrate it. Some Russian officials were quick to blame Ukraine but the Kremlin itself seems more reticent, only blaming a truck bomb which ignited rail cars carrying oil and promising an investigation.
My suspicion is that the Kremlin does not want to admit that Ukrainian forces may have the reach to launch such an attack. But I do not know.
John Gambrell and Adam Schreck, “Russia withdraws troops from once-occupied Lyman as Ukraine recaptures more territory,” Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-10-01/ukraine-encircles-strategic-eastern-city-of-lyman-in-counteroffensive-against-russia
Luke Harding, “Humiliation for Vladimir Putin as Ukrainians liberate key city of Lyman,” Guardian, October 1, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/01/humiliation-for-vladimir-putin-as-ukrainians-liberate-key-city-of-lyman
Isabelle Khurshudyan et al., “Russian troops withdraw from Lyman, a day after annexation claims,” Washington Post, October 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/01/ukaine-russia-lyman-donetsk-annexation/
Liz Sly, “Russia’s annexation puts world ‘two or three steps away’ from nuclear war,” Washington Post, October 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/01/europe-putin-nuclear-threats/
Lewis Page, “Why Putin would be a fool to go nuclear in Ukraine,” Telegraph, October 2, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/10/02/why-putin-would-fool-go-nuclear-ukraine/
Farida Rustamova, “Vladimir Putin is making rash and secretive decisions in face of defeats, Kremlin insiders warn,” Telegraph, October 2, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/10/02/vladimir-putin-making-rash-secretive-decisions-face-defeats/
Josie Ensor, “Nuclear weapons convoy sparks fears Putin could be preparing test to send ‘signal to the West,’” Telegraph, October 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/10/03/nuclear-weapons-convoy-sparks-fears-putin-could-preparing-test/
Luke Harding, Isobel Koshiw, and Peter Beaumont, “Russia no longer has full control of any of four ‘annexed’ Ukrainian provinces,” Guardian, October 3, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/03/russia-has-no-full-control-of-any-of-four-annexed-ukrainian-provinces
Dominic Nicholls, “Russia’s bloated military has finally been properly tested – and the results are not good,” Telegraph, October 3, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/10/03/ukraines-lyman-victory-shows-skill-trumps-numbers-when-comes/
Mary Ilyushina, Emily Rauhala, and Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Ukraine hammers Russian forces into retreat on east and south fronts,” Washington Post, October 4, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/04/russia-retreat-kherson-lyman-ukraine/
Pjotr Sauer, “Attempts to play down retreats in Ukraine no longer wash inside Russia,” Guardian, October 5, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/05/attempts-to-play-down-retreats-ukraine-russia-war-kremlin-military-failure
Ishaan Tharoor, “Annexations show the depth of Putin’s imperial delusion,” Washington Post, October 5, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/10/05/putin-colonial-imperial-delusion/
Yasmeen Abutaleb, “Biden suggests Putin’s nuclear threats mean a ‘prospect of Armageddon,’” Washington Post, October 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/10/06/biden-putin-nuclear-armageddon/
Charlie Cooper, “Coal built the EU. Will gas destroy it?” Politico, October 6, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/prague-summit-enegy-gas-eu-ukraine-war-russia-vladimir-putin/
Robyn Dixon, “As Ukraine war falters, Russians ask a risky question: Could Putin fall?” Washington Post, October 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/06/putin-successor-president-russia-war/
Alex Horton, “Russians flee by boat to Alaska after Putin’s military mobilization,” Washington Post, October 6, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/10/06/russians-flee-alaska/
Nandita Bose and Pavel Polityuk, “Biden says Putin’s nuclear threat brings risk of ‘Armageddon,’” Reuters, October 7, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/ukraine-forces-break-through-russian-defences-south-advance-east-2022-10-03/
Christian Esch et al., “Berlin and Washington Play Out Nuclear Scenarios,” Spiegel, October 7, 2022, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/berlin-and-washington-play-out-scenarios-of-a-nuclear-strike-by-putin-a-ecbc1772-8526-4ce1-ae0d-7270309df54e
Greg Miller et al., “Putin confronted by insider over Ukraine war, U.S. intelligence finds,” Washington Post, October 7, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/10/07/putin-inner-circle-dissent/
Adam Schreck and Vasilisa Stepanenko, “Explosion on Crimean bridge damages key Russian supply route; 3 dead,” Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-10-08/truck-bomb-damages-crimea-bridge-a-key-supply-artery-for-russias-war-effort
Times of Israel, “Russia says truck bomb caused Crimea bridge explosion, stops short of blaming Kyiv,” October 8, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-says-truck-blast-caused-crimea-bridge-explosion-stops-short-of-blaming-kyiv/
Yaroslav Trofimov, “Major Explosion Hits the Bridge Between Crimea and Russia, Halting Traffic,” Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/major-explosion-hits-the-bridge-between-crimea-and-russia-halting-traffic-11665215052
- Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh to tear down pedestrian bridge over Bigelow Boulevard after crane boom strikes it,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 7, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-to-tear-down-pedestrian-bridge-over-bigelow-boulevard-after-crane-boom-strikes-it/; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Bigelow Boulevard closed in Polish Hill after crane strikes pedestrian bridge,” October 7, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/10/07/bigelow-boulevard-closed-pedestrian-bridge-crane-collision-detour-penndot/stories/202210070090↩
- Christian Esch et al., “Berlin and Washington Play Out Nuclear Scenarios,” Spiegel, October 7, 2022, https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/berlin-and-washington-play-out-scenarios-of-a-nuclear-strike-by-putin-a-ecbc1772-8526-4ce1-ae0d-7270309df54e↩
- Adam Schreck and Vasilisa Stepanenko, “Explosion on Crimean bridge damages key Russian supply route; 3 dead,” Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-10-08/truck-bomb-damages-crimea-bridge-a-key-supply-artery-for-russias-war-effort; Times of Israel, “Russia says truck bomb caused Crimea bridge explosion, stops short of blaming Kyiv,” October 8, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/russia-says-truck-blast-caused-crimea-bridge-explosion-stops-short-of-blaming-kyiv/; Yaroslav Trofimov, “Major Explosion Hits the Bridge Between Crimea and Russia, Halting Traffic,” Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/major-explosion-hits-the-bridge-between-crimea-and-russia-halting-traffic-11665215052↩