Iconic Packard Plant bridge collapses onto E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit

The iconic Packard Plant bridge collapsed onto East Grand Boulevard late Wednesday afternoon. 

No one was injured, but a part of Detroit’s history has crumbled.

The brick bridge connected the sprawling ruins and was part of the assembly line for Packard cars until the plant stopped producing the luxury automobile in 1956. 

Part of the Albert Kahn-designed plant remained in use as industrial space for various companies until it closed in 1999. 

Since then, the plan has been vacant. The ruins became a symbol of Detroit’s industrial demise and attracted tourists.  

In December 2013, Peru-based developer Fernando Palazuelo bought the plant for $405,000 and has been slowly renovating it. At the time, Palazuelo was hoping to create space for lofts, offices, entertainment, restaurants and retailers.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the bridge to collapse.

Mayor Duggan’s office said the city is acting quickly to remove the debris and reopen East Grand Boulevard.

“Our first priority is to ensure the area is made safe for the public and the roadway is reopened as soon as possible,” the city said in a statement. “The City is taking the lead on clearing debris and inspectors from the Buildings Safety Engineering and Environmental Department and Detroit Building Authority are on scene to assess this situation. We are making plans to bring in a contractor to remove the debris as quickly as possible.”

The bridge was part of the assembly line.
Photo by Steve Neavling

Photo by Steve Neavling

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.