Mulberry Street Bridge reopens; cause of wall collapse probed

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Mulberry Street Bridge reopened for the Friday afternoon commute a day after the collapse of a retaining wall that supported an adjacent parking lot.

PennDOT officials said the bridge is structurally sound. Inspectors will continue to check the site frequently, especially when it’s raining.

collapseThe bridge was closed to traffic after the wall collapsed Thursday afternoon at the McFarland Press apartments on Mulberry Street. Tons of rubble and an unoccupied car that was in the parking lot crashed through the roof of the Howard Tire & Auto Company warehouse in the 200 block of Cameron Street.

The American Red Cross was assisting seven adults and three children who were displaced from four apartments. The residents were allowed to return Friday.

The cause of the collapse remains under investigation.

bridge-collapse“I don’t think anyone could tell you exactly, today, why that wall failed, but we do see this kind of failure on older infrastructure when we get a lot of rain like we’ve had this week,” Michael Keiser, district executive for PennDOT Engineering District 8, said.

Howard Henry, the owner of Howard Tire & Auto Company, wants answers about what’s happening to his business.

“My insurance company says that none of that debris is covered that collapsed on my building,” he said. “And they are deciding whether any part of this claim is going to be covered by my insurance at all.”

What happens if nothing is covered?

000001“I have no idea. I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t have the money to do that.”

Henry says he went to PennDOT about the wall several months ago.

“It was my concern all along that all of that water was soaking that wall,” he said.

PennDOT doesn’t own the wall. Mayor Eric Papenfuse said the wall belongs to the McFarland property and the city wasn’t aware of any issues.

000002“The city engineer didn’t know, the codes department didn’t know about it, and I didn’t know about it,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything we could have done but react now.”

“I’m not stopped here. I’m just interrupted, seriously interrupted, but I’m not stopped,” Henry said. “I have a lot of faith. I have a great, great God.”

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