May 23, 2006 in City

Garage to test barriers

By The Spokesman-Review

The River Park Square garage is closing off parking in rows that face Spokane Falls Boulevard while the owners test the concrete barriers at the end of the spaces.

A spokeswoman for the garage said Monday portions of the row of parking spaces in front of all of the barriers, called spandrels, will remain closed for an undetermined length of time. That would affect slightly less than a fourth of the spaces in the main garage structure, but none in the parking beneath Nordstrom.

The spandrels are being tested by an engineering firm hired after a fatal accident last month.

“They are checking every single barrier,” spokeswoman Jennifer West said.

Jo Ellen Savage, 62, of Pullman, died after the car she was driving crashed through a spandrel on the garage’s fifth floor and plunged to the ramp below. A police investigation determined Savage’s vehicle was traveling slowly when it hit the spandrel.

A preliminary engineering report conducted for the garage’s owner concluded the spandrel that broke could withstand a load of 8,400 pounds, which is greater than the 6,000-pound requirement in the building code.

The garage is owned by the Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

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