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Corner Brook couple lucky to escape injury after concrete from overhead bridge strikes vehicle


To say it was a spooky situation for John Park is an understatement.

The Corner Brook resident was driving along Main Street towards Humber Road at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon when a chunk of concrete fell from the Lewin Parkway overpass above him.

“I had one of two choices: either hit that or go head on into another car,” Park said before leaving the scene to assess the damages done to his 2012 Dodge Journey.

Fortunately, the chunk of concrete hit the road first and any damage to Park’s vehicle was to its undercarriage. Neither he, nor his partner who was a passenger in the vehicle, were hurt.

“It was scary,” he said.

The chunk that fell off was in two pieces not far from a pile of dusty debris on the road where it had made impact. Judging from the missing piece of the underside of the overpass above, the piece was around three feet long and maybe a foot or so wide.

The City of Corner Brook was on the scene quickly and, with the help of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, closed the section of Main Street under the overpass until further notice.

The Lewin Parkway, including the overpass infrastructure, is the responsibility of the provincial Department of Transportation and Works. So is another overhead ramp nearby that leads from the arterial route to Humber Road.

Craig Kennedy, the City of Corner Brook’s superintendent of public works, said the scene would be secured by the city, which maintains Main Street and Humber Road, until the provincial officials arrived to assess the overpass.

Kennedy said this is not the first time a piece has fallen from one of these overpasses. He said the bridges were refurbished years ago, but the city tries to keep an eye on them for any signs of trouble.

“Over time, the frost and salt will have some affect,” he said.

In 2003, former Corner Brook city councillor Alton Whalen expressed concerns about the state of the overpasses. At the time, the concrete on them was soft to the touch in places and the reinforcing steel bars embedded in the concrete were visible in some spots.

The refurbishing work Kennedy referenced was done since that time.

The Department of Transportation and Works had a crew on the site shortly afterwards Wednesday to monitor the bridge, remove any loose concrete and make any required repairs.

According to the department, the damage did appear to be related to the freezing and thawing cycle. The remaining structure has been determined to be safe and no lane closures on the Lewin Parkway itself were deemed necessary.

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