Concrete barriers in place after bikers jump collapsed Caldwell County bridge

Concrete barriers in place after bikers jump collapsed Caldwell County bridge

CALDWELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV ) - Crews put up concrete barriers Wednesday to a deter a couple of bikers from jumping a collapsed bridge in Caldwell County.

Falls Avenue Bridge in Granite Falls was shut down about a year ago and part of it has since collapsed, falling into Mill Pond. The missing section created a gap, leaving a space that appeared to attract some bike riders.

Facebook user Colt Howell posted a video showing the jumps.

The Department of Transportation put up new concrete barriers and bolted them to the concrete in hopes of deterring the riders.

NC State Trooper TA Rathbone says his job is to save lives on the highways, and what the motorcycle riders did over the weekend is making that tougher.

"Those guys are lucky to be alive," he said. "If they had miscalculated anything they could have been hurt or killed."

What also concerns him is that the entire stunt was videotaped and posted on the internet. Tens of thousands of people have already looked at it. Rathbone and others worry that copycats will try the same thing, but with tragic results.

The bridge was shut down in October 2016 after wooden supports started to splinter, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said. The bridge surface had a slight sag and officials were concerned about traffic crossing it.

The NCDOT said the bridge is scheduled to be demolished in June.

Bids were awarded in February 2017 for construction of a $3.2 million replacement bridge. Work is slated to begin in just a matter of weeks.

The bridge closure has resulted in long detours for many. Depending on what the destination is, it can add as much as 30 minutes to the trip.

Rebuilding should begin a couple weeks but DOT officials say it could be after the first of the year before the project is complete.

As for charges the riders may face, investigators are still looking into that. It is against the law to take a motor vehicle onto a clearly marked closed road or highway, said Rathbone, and that charge is likely.

He wants to talk with everyone who was involved before citing any with violations.

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