As has been widely discussed around Big Canoe, the Covered Bridge on Wilderness Parkway was struck by a vehicle on Tuesday, March 7.
Most importantly, no one was seriously injured. “Tire failure” was listed as the cause of the accident, according to the motor vehicle crash report filed by the Pickens County Sheriff’s office.
However, the collision forced the closure of the Covered Bridge and Wilderness Parkway.
The POA is working to address the closure as quickly as possible – and doing so with an abundance of caution. There is no “quick fix” for the bridge to be properly repaired and Wilderness Parkway to be reopened.
However, the POA is doing everything possible to promptly resolve the situation. Among the most recent updates around the closure:
The bridge is not in danger of collapsing, but the POA’s engineer noted that the bridge’s center support column has been compromised and must be repaired. Until that work is completed, the bridge cannot be reopened.
The POA’s engineer has also determined that the damaged sidewall of the bridge will have to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch. That part of the bridge was strictly aesthetic and not a part of its structural support, says Lydell Mack, Director of Operations.
The accident was a random event that had nothing to do with the work that had been completed on Monday.
The repair will require the construction of a temporary, external platform – with a debris-catching surface – that will create a scaffold-like structure, which will allow work to be conducted below and along the bridge.
A report and repair cost estimate was shared with the insurance company on Thursday, March 9.
Public Works teams are continuing their work nearby on Wilderness Parkway, which includes installing a guardrail and reflectors and painting new lines on the roadway.
The recent work on the bridge raised the roof by two-and-half feet, with the project coordinated and supervised by our engineer. That portion of the project was designed to address the chronic problem of larger vehicles striking the roof of the bridge, which has forced its closure for repairs. The Tuesday collision blew out the northern side wall of the bridge, which was not part of the recent repair project.
The POA will provide updates as our staff works to resolve the situation as safely and quickly as possible.