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Rosalind Helderman

If a big piece of concrete facade is going to come tumbling off a major government parking structure, the one thing you could hope for is that it might happen on a weekend.

In that sense, Prince George's officials got lucky this weekend, when an old welding rusted through, allowing a large piece of concrete railing to crash to the ground from a stairwell attached to the side of the County Administration Building's three story parking garage. While relieved that no one was hurt from the mishap, which according to county spokesman James Keary is over three decades old, they are not exactly confident it couldn't happen again.

In fact, Keary confirmed the garage, where hundreds of county employees park each day, will be closed for business starting tomorrow, as engineers examine its sturdiness. Some employees will be asked to park in the already overflowing garage at the county courthouse; others will park at the Showplace Arena and take buses the approximately one mile to work.

Keary said engineers had not recommended the closure but county officials were taking no chance until they got a chance to examine other welds in the structure, which should happen by Thursday. "They decided to close it to be on the safe side," he said.

Renovations have been underway for some time on a large concrete deck that wraps around the first floor of the also concrete administration building (the thing was built in 1970, a time when architects were exceptionally fond of concrete). The area has been troubled by water seepage, Keary said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  May 14, 2007; 3:32 PM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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