Roof collapse

A staging site for salting city roads is cordoned off after trhe roof partially collapsed Tuesday. The timing was fortuitous for the city, which plans to relocate its Falls Road salt operation to North Avenue by the end of the year. (Photo by Noah Scialom / August 13, 2014)

The roof of a building on Falls Road that the Baltimore City Department of Transportation uses as a salt barn for salting roads partially collapsed on Tuesday.

"The building is very old," said Richard Hooper, operations bureau chief for DOT. He said salt corroded a steel support beam, which rusted through, causing the collapse.

The area was cordoned off and salt in that barn was "moved down a couple of barns," he said.

Before the collapse, the city was preparing to build a new salt dome at 560 W. North Ave., where it is relocating its salt operation at 2601 Falls Road. DOT operates seven salt domes citywide, Hooper said.

"That was already planned," he said. "That's why we didn't put much money into that (Falls Road) building."

The city hopes to start construction on North Avenue in October and complete the project in December, at an expected cost of $1.3 million to $1.5 million, Hooper said. Some pre-construction demolition work has started, he said.

The new location will be more accessible because it is right off the Jones Falls Expressway, said Hooper and DOT spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes.