Detroit's crumbling pedestrian bridges are in the spotlight this morning following a collapse that reportedly plunged a Detroit man near oncoming traffic on the Lodge.
Ely Hydes, 36, was walking to a Tigers game May 9 when a chunk of the Spruce Street bridge in Corktown gave out under him, according to The Detroit News. Hyde told The News he fell 15 feet, landing in a grassy area near the freeway. "I got the wind knocked out of me pretty good," he said.
.@MDOT_MetroDet Spruce pedestrian bridge in Detroit is closed after pedestrian falls through onto Lodge freeway and is nearly killed. Why aren't ped bridges on MDOT's poor bridges report? They don't carry vehicles so they don't get the same priority. @stephanielily pic.twitter.com/PgdDZs7xBx— Detroit Greenways Coalition (@DetroitGreenway) May 16, 2022
The bridge remained open to pedestrians for nearly a week despite the gaping hole, and it was unclear whether the Detroit Police Department made a report.
It's among approximately 70 that cross freeways in the city. Wayne State University student surveyors found the integrity of nearly half, or 46 percent, appeared compromised during a study conducted in 2015.
"These structures are in operation yet each had observable issues ranging from crumbling and disintegrating concrete to significantly rusted support beams, down signage and missing fencing and railing," a synopsis of the research published by the website Detroitography says.
We've reached out to the Michigan Department of Transportation to learn more about whether and how frequently the city's pedestrian bridges are checked.
Hyde tells The News that "decades of erosion" were visible on the bridge he fell through. A spokeswoman told The News the bridge was due for a yearly detailed inspection this month based on its age and condition. It was constructed in 1953.
MDOT was alerted to the collapse by The News and says it will fast-track the bridge's fix.
Hyde, meanwhile, says he's contemplating a lawsuit against the state.
"I'm in a lot of pain, I've missed a week of work, and I have medical bills. I'm not trying to fleece anyone, but I think some compensation would be fair."