Pedestrian bridge falls onto Detroit freeway after collision

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.

The freeway in both directions was 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.

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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, but cleanup and demolition began later in the morning. Officials hope to reopen I-94 at that location Friday night, Cross 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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