Pedestrian bridge falls onto Detroit freeway after collision


A portion of a pedestrian bridge collapsed onto westbound I-94 in Detroit Friday, March 27, 2020. (WDIV/

DETROIT (AP) — A truck collided with a pedestrian bridge early Friday in Detroit, sending a portion of the span onto a freeway and blocking traffic along part of the heavily traveled thoroughfare, authorities said.

No one was injured in the collapse onto westbound Interstate 94, Lt. Mike Shaw, a Michigan State Police spokesman, said in an email.

Westbound lanes were closed after the collapse, which was caused by a truck apparently carrying a large load hitting the bridge at some point after 5 a.m, said Diane Cross, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“We believe it was pulled down by a high load hit, probably a car-hauler, but Michigan State Police still have to determine the cause of that,” she told The Associated Press.

Cross said the bridge would have to be demolished and that a company would be paid about $86,000 to remove the entire structure.

The portion of the bridge over I-94’s eastbound lanes was still standing early Friday and eastbound lanes were open, but Cross said that those lanes would be closed when the rest of the bridge was removed. Officials hope to then reopen I-94 at that location Friday night, she said.

Before the coronavirus pandemic and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order reduced traffic, about 140,000 vehicles on average were using the highway daily. Highway traffic in the Detroit area is estimated to be down about 50% because of the pandemic, she said.

State police reported on Twitter that the agency was notified about 5:20 a.m. that part of the Townsend Pedestrian Bridge near Van Dyke Avenue had fallen.

In 2014, a pedestrian bridge over a different Detroit freeway was pulled down by a trash truck. The truck driver died and two other vehicles were struck by debris when that bridge fell onto the Southfield Freeway.

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