One construction worker was killed and 17 were injured during a suspension bridge collapse at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Dec. 19. Crews were working on a new 600-ft-long 40-ft-tall pedestrian bridge when portions of the structure collapsed at approximately 9 am. Concrete pours were under way at the time. Atlanta Fire Capt. Gregory Shinkle said that scaffolding being used during the pour collapsed, according to the Associated Press.
Hardin Construction of Atlanta is the general contractor on the project. Halvorson and Partners of Atlanta is the engineer of record. The bridge was scheduled to open in spring 2009. Representatives from Hardin and Halvorson and Partners were not available for comment.
Sixteen injured workers were transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where four were checked in to the intensive care unit with two classified as very serious injuries, said Jeffrey Salamone, trauma surgeon at Grady Memorial Hospital. The injuries included several brain injuries, spine injuries, broken bones and one liver injury, Salamone said.
Atlanta Fire units were on scene at 9:05, three minutes after receiving a call about the accident, and found no workers trapped under the structure, Shinkle said.
The suspension bridge, dubbed the “Canopy Walk,” was touted by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens as the only canopy-level pathway of its kind in the United States. The bridge gradually slopes from grade to a maximum height of 40 ft as it winds through the trees at canopy level. The bridge was designed with “a virtually invisible system of steel cable wires” that that would have “minimal impact to the forest floor and no impact to the most significant trees,” according to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.