DOT: Pedestrian bridge that collapsed not made to carry vehicles

Posted: Updated:

The New Jersey Department of Transportation says that a pedestrian bridge that partially collapsed in Passaic County Monday was not designed to carry vehicles.

A portion of the Ethel Avenue Pedestrian Bridge in Hawthorne collapsed when a borough employee drove a nearly 4,000-pound Bobcat machine over the bridge to clear snow. The machinery fell through the bridge onto a contractor van passing by on Route 208 below.

The Bobcat driver, identified as 42-year-old Don Turner Jr. and the people inside the passing van, identified as 64-year-old Patrick O’Dell and 22-year-old John DesLauriers, were hurt and taken to the hospital.

RELATED: Bobcat machine clearing snow falls through bridge, injures 3 

Officials say that Turner and DesLauriers were seriously injured and admitted to the hospital for further treatment. Details of their injuries were not made clear.

The bridge is owned by the NJ DOT. In a statement the agency said, “Pedestrian footbridges are not designed to carry vehicles and therefore don’t have posted weight limits like a bridge carrying cars and trucks. NJDOT owns the bridge, however maintenance is the responsibility of the county.”

But a spokesperson for Passaic County told News 12 New Jersey that the Ethel Avenue bridge has always been maintained by Hawthorne officials.

The bridge was last inspected in 2013 and was expected to be inspected again this year.

Route 208 was closed for a while following the incident, but reopened Tuesday. The pedestrian bridge remains closed.

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