- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - Officials of a city more than 50 miles northwest of Waterloo have asked residents to stay at least 100 yards away from a bridge that partially collapsed.

Charles City police chief Hugh Anderson told the Charles City Press (https://bit.ly/2nZZi5N ) there’s a possibility of falling debris near the Charley Western Bridge or that it could collapse completely.

“We’re trying to urge people to stay off because it could obviously be at a critical point right now,” Anderson said. “It could be catastrophic if that thing did have a complete loss.”

An archway of the bridge on the Cedar River pulled away from the structure Saturday morning, and part of it collapsed.

Charles City Administrator Steve Diers said the city is working with bridge engineers to address the issue. He said the river is closed to activities.

“No recreational activities including boating, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming or general use of the river within 100 yards of the bridge,” he said.

Earlier this month, City Council voted in favor of an evaluation of both the Charley Western and the Main Street bridges. Charles City Engineer John Fallis said officials are examining how to move forward with the evaluation.

“The (evaluation) on Main Street is going forward,” Fallis said. “The second one, on the Charley Western Trail, we have to re-look at the scope of services.”

Fallis said the Charley Western Bridge, which was built in 1910, likely can’t be fixed.

Diers said he’s unsure how much work on the bridge would cost.

“We’re talking about several hundreds of thousands of dollars of work,” Diers said. “Hopefully that’s all it is. It’s going to be a substantial project.”

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Information from: Charles City Press, https://www.charlescitypress.com

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