Nightly News   |  May 25, 2013

Accidents spotlight nation’s aging infrastructure

Investigators are looking for clues into what caused two freight trains to collide in rural Missouri, causing a massive bridge collapse. The collision - between the two trains - is the third major transportation accident this month. NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin reports.

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>>> some high pro file accidents lately involving both have raised some worrisome questions about the state of this country's rails and highways. the latest happened in missouri . this time, a collision between two trains that triggereded a bridge collapse . it comes a day after a bridge fell north of seattle. tonight, the ntsb is on the scene trying to piece together what happened.

>> reporter: tonight, investigati investigators are looking for clues as to what caused two freight trains to collide in missouri , causing a massive collapse.

>> high volume to say the least.

>> reporter: nearly a dozen cars derailed.

>> the train was carrying too much speed and had too much momentum. this bridge would not have been able to withstand that type of impact.

>> reporter: only seven people sustained minor injuries. it is the third major transportation accident this month. on may 17th , two trains collided in connecticut injurying 0i people. and here in washington state , newly released security footage shows the moment the skagit bridge collapsed on thursday after it was struck by an oversized truck.

>> they're going to be conducting intervies with the truck driver . they're going to be collecting more documents.

>> reporter: the accidents have put a spotlight on the nation's ageing infrastructure. experts say bridges across the country are vulnerable. according to the american society of civil engineers , one in nine of the nation's bridges are rated at structurally deficient. repairing or improving bridges would cost billions.

>> one of the big challenges is we're facing so many financial constraints and the decisions being made now is making sure that when choices are made, that safety has a seat at the table.

>> reporter: now, as the ntsb steps up its investigation in missouri , it's winding down its investigation here in washington state . they spent the day looking at the metal structure, going over the records at this bridge. local officials are telling us they're waiting for the ntsb to finish its investigation so they can start clearing this debris and trying to get this highway back up and running.

>> thanks.