Panel crashes from Lexington parking garage

bfortune@herald-leader.comMay 8, 2011 

People looked Monday at the damage to the Phoenix parking garage after a 28-foot-long concrete panel fell off the side Sunday at the city-owned garage on East Vine Street in Lexington. No one was hurt as the panel fell from the second level and crashed onto the sidewalk across from the Lexington Transit Center. On Sunday, Tom Wilson, the city's parking garage manager said, "Under no circumstances will we open this garage until it is safe". The garage has 150 parking spaces.

CHARLES BERTRAM | STAFF

The city-owned Phoenix parking garage on Vine Street in Lexington remained closed Monday after a 28-foot-long concrete panel fell off the side Sunday.

"I'm just glad no one was hurt," said Tom Wilson, the city's parking garage manager.

A city engineer was on site Sunday night evaluating the damage. Also at the scene was a structural engineer from R.E. Jackson Engineers, a firm that inspects the city's garages.

The panel fell from the second level. Whether it was dislodged by a vehicle hitting it or whether it just fell, "We really don't know," Wilson said at the scene. The garage is across from the Lexington Transit Center.

"Under no circumstances will we open this garage until it is safe," he said.

In 2006, a pickup knocked a concrete panel from the second floor of the Chase Bank parking garage in downtown Lexington, killing pregnant bank employee Stephanie Hufnagel, 26.

The Phoenix Garage, which has about 150 parking spaces, and the sidewalks around it were closed Monday. City employees who park there were directed to park in the Barr Street garage behind the Fayette County courthouses.

The city owns six parking garages including the one inside the Government Center. The garages are inspected every four to five years. The annex garage is inspected more often, Wilson said

The Phoenix Garage was inspected four years ago, he said. In 2007, the second level was resurfaced.

On Monday, Water Street, which runs along the north side of the garage, will be converted temporarily from two-way to one-way traffic, with parking allowed on one side of the street.

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