Silver Dollar City replaces walkway with treated wood

Sunday, July 21, 2002

BRANSON, Mo. -- Structural engineers are replacing a walkway that collapsed at the Silver Dollar City theme park, but specially treated wood is being used instead of concrete.

Crews hoped to complete the 40-foot walkway that leads to the Lost River of the Ozarks water ride next week, Silver Dollar City spokeswoman Lisa Rau said.

An independent consultant then will be brought in for an additional safety inspection, Rau said. The Lost River of the Ozarks, in which patrons ride a tube down a waterway that is about 4 1/2 feet deep, will open once clearance is given, Rau said.

"The ride is 100 percent fine, but we can't get to it," Rau said.

A 25-foot section of concrete walkway collapsed Monday, injuring 21 people who were waiting for the ride. The walkway was suspended about 2 1/2 feet above a water holding tank that feeds the ride.

Concrete failure was suspected in the accident, Rau said. There apparently was a slight depression in the center of the walkway that may have weakened the 4-inch thick concrete. The steel supports -- including angle beams and bolts that held the concrete -- remained intact.

More tests were needed on concrete samples before a final determination could be made, Rau said.

One Arkansas woman remained hospitalized Friday in Little Rock. Both of Mary Koon's legs were broken and her right ankle and foot were crushed.

The other injured suffered mostly cuts and bruises.

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