Historic bridge at Detroit Packard plant collapses

It once was part of the Packard assembly line

It was a bridge that once was so cool, it was part of a vehicle assembly line — a symbol of an era when Detroit could build or do just about anything. But now the bridge at the massive derelict Packard plant has collapsed onto the roadway below.

It crashed down onto East Grand Boulevard around 3 p.m. Wednesday. It was old and decrepit, sure, but officials also think that weather and temperature extremes took their toll.

"Our contractors on site noted some bricks falling from that bridge earlier today," said Joe Kopietz, a spokesman for Arte Express, which bought the Packard plant at tax auction in 2013. Kopietz told the Detroit News, "We were informed at about 1 this afternoon, and I directed the contractor to make efforts to block off traffic."

"Then, at about 3 this afternoon, the collapse occurred. The best we can determine is that it was a preexisting structural issue, due to temperature fluctuations that caused the collapse."

No injuries were reported in the collapse, the News and Detroit Free Press said.

Marvin King, a Packard enthusiast, rushed to the scene and told the News that seeing the wreckage "is like losing an old friend."

The 42-acre Packard complex totals 3.5 million square feet of factory. It was constructed in 1903 and operated until 1956. The bridge was built in 1939 and was used to ferry cars being assembled from one side of Grand to the other.

Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo, who owns Arte Express, dreams of turning the plant into a sprawling mixed-use development.

Related Video:

Share This Photo X