Grand Boulevard reopens after Packard Plant bridge collapse

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — A portion of East Grand Boulevard near the former Packard Plant has reopened Friday after workers removed the pedestrian bridge that collapsed earlier this week, officials said. 

City contractors had been working around the clock since the iconic pedestrian bridge collapsed Wednesday, separating the remaining bridge structure from the adjacent buildings and removing the debris, the city said in a press release. 

Crews from the city's Department of Public Works inspected the roadway and reopened it to traffic at 5:15 p.m.

The bridge at the long-shuttered Packard Plant, which was once part of the plant's assembly line, likely collapsed Wednesday due in part to age and extreme weather fluctuations.

The collapsed bridge was erected in 1939 and was among several bridges connecting the various buildings at the plant over the years.

Auto bodies were assembled in the building on the south side of Grand Boulevard, and they traveled across the street via the assembly line built into the bridge to the northern building, where each chassis was put together.

City contractors collected more than two dozen samples of material from the bridge to test them for the presence of asbestos, all of which came back negative.

"However, to protect worker and community safety it is the city’s policy that all such emergency demolitions – when asbestos surveys and removal cannot be safely done prior do demolition – must follow MDEQ requirements and be conducted under strict environmental protocols that assume asbestos may be present," the city said.
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