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Engineering consultant weighs in on parking garage collapse

Posted at 9:17 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 21:17:57-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Since last week's parking garage collapse in downtown Lexington, LEX 18 has learned a lot about what is not being done or even required by states to keep structures safe.

The biggest question stemming from the collapse is how a concrete and steel structure designed to hold the weight of multiple vehicles crumbled like it did. The top deck was empty other than snow and ice being plowed at the time. Building inspection records show the previous owner made structural repairs in late 2018.

"It looks like they were adding reinforcing steel in some of it to strengthen some of it," said Tracy Grover, a professional engineering consultant that works with the American Concrete Institute.

We asked Grover to weigh in on what happened.

"I'd have to do more digging, but that is curious," Grover said. "You fix it in 2018 and in 2021 you didn't have any cars on it and it collapses in a snow storm."

The fact is, unlike roads and bridges, most states don't require parking garages to be inspected by law.

"To me, that is something that needs to be addressed again. It is public safety we're talking about," Grover said.

For now, the Mill Street Parking Garage is condemned. The current owner who bought the property in March 2019 said a contractor did ordinary maintenance and cleaning and nothing structural.