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Historic Detroit Bridge Collapses, None Injured

Friday, January 25, 2019

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Detroit’s iconic Packard Plant pedestrian bridge collapsed Wednesday (Jan. 23). No one was injured, though the street that runs through the ruin was covered with debris. The collapse has largely been attributed to a combination of age and extreme weather fluctuations.

The Detroit Building Authority has hired Blue Star Demolition to remove what remains of the bridge. Assessment of the site has already begun. The bridge, once part of the plant’s car assembly line, was built in 1939.

Historic Detroit Bridge Collapse

The bridge collapsed around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Joe Kopietz, a spokesperson for Arte Express, told The Detroit News. (Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo owns Arte Express, and purchased the plant in 2013.)

Kopietz went on to add that company contractors had noticed bricks falling from the bridge earlier that day. The information was passed along around 1 p.m., and Kopietz directed the contractor to block off traffic, with the spokesperson reaching out to Detroit's Building and Safety and Housing and Revitalization departments. After reports of people driving around the barricades came to light, around 2 p.m., Kopietz reached out to local police to assist with blocking traffic. Then the collapse, largely attributed to a pre-existing structural issue and temperature fluctuations, occurred around 3 p.m.

The city owns a nearby building that connects to the bridge. The bridge is jointly owned by the city and Arte Express. Palazuelo has also emphasized his desire for the city to transfer ownership of the building, under a development agreement, so that it can be stabilized and secured.

The Packard Plant totals 3.5 million square feet, and stopped manufacturing cars in 1956. In the future, Palazuelo plans to convert the plant into a mixed-use development.

"There is no timeline yet established for the completion of work and the reopening of the road," the city said.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Historic Structures; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (1/25/2019, 11:12 AM)

People are different beasts... no wonder we have Darwin awards.You block off a road or path because something is happening (egad! the bridge is collapsing! or Gee! They are working with heavy equipment on the trail!) and people drive around the barricades or walk under the danger tape. Glad no one was hurt.


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