The iconic bridge linking the two giant sides of Detroit’s former Packard factory has collapsed.
The Packard Plant Bridge had only appeared – its corroded state heavily disguised by an artistic tarpaulin – on our screens a week ago in the first episode of The Grand Tour series three, but now lies in crumbling pieces on the road below.
Various US outlets initially reported the famous walkway’s collapse. It’s strongly believed that decades of neglect and the resulting decay in fiercely temperamental Michigan weather ultimately caused the structure to give way and collapse onto the street. No one was hurt.
It used to link the north and south buildings of a factory that first opened in 1911, following eight years of construction. Hailed as a marvel of modern technology and engineering at the time, it was one of the then wildly prosperous Detroit’s shining beacons… for a while. After the bridge was built in 1939 to move cars more easily from one side of the road to the other, Packard collapsed in 1958.
The bridge over East Grand Boulevard has joined it some 61 years later. Current owner Arte Express, which bought the facility at auction in 2013, had this to say via spokesman Joe Kopietz:
“Our contractors on site noted some bricks falling from that bridge earlier today. We were informed at about one 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.”
Plans are currently in place to turn the site into a ‘mixed-use’ development. Clarkson will be hoping that doesn’t involve vegetables.