Detroit's Famous Packard Plant Bridge Has Collapsed

Screenshot: The Grand Tour (Amazon)

The iconic bridge spanning Detroit’s East Grand Boulevard, connecting two parts of the old Packard plant and bearing the defunct automaker’s name, collapsed Wednesday afternoon according to local news. There were no reported injuries, but the well-known landmark is gone.

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As you can see from these pictures posted by HistoricDetroit.org’s Twitter account, damage to the bridge is catastrophic. It’s a full-on collapse. According to the Detroit Free Press, the bridge had been off-limits to tours for years over safety concerns. Which, yeah, good call.

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The factory started operating in 1903, and churned out Packard cars until the mid-1950s. The Motor City Muckraker wrote that the building was used as industrial space for various companies until 1999, and was purchased by developer Fernando Palazuelo in 2013 for $405,000.

Apparently Palazuelo’s plan was to “create space for lofts, offices, entertainment, restaurants and retailers.” I remember seeing stories about those big dreams here on Jalopnik five years ago.

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But today the Packard Plant is still mostly just identified as an enormous embodiment of the “Detroit is a shell of its former self” trope, as exemplified in the first episode of The Grand Tour’s third season when Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May go bombing below the very bridge we’re talking about here in a trio of modern muscle cars.

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As to whether the bridge will be rebuilt, I mean, I doubt it. At least not until the rest of the building evolves to be something more than ruin porn.

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Andrew P. Collins

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL