A long section of retaining wall at the Myrtle Hill Cemetery facing South Broad Street collapsed during a severe thunderstorm with heavy rains Thursday night, exposing a small section of two vaults, but not actual coffins.

Public Works Department personnel spread a plastic tarp over the wall Thursday night and started work on a temporary repair Friday morning.

Rome Public Works Director Chris Jenkins said Multi-Craft Construction Services, which has been doing work to repair numerous sections of retaining walls in the cemetery for the last several years, will start work on a permanent repair by the middle of next week.

“For the last two or three years we’ve been replacing walls with Multi-Craft each year,” Jenkins said. Since 2014, the city has spent $91,000 with Multi-Craft to repair aging retaining walls in the historic cemetery.

The entire section of wall from the first southbound entrance at the Tomb of the Known Soldier back toward the first set of steps leading up into the cemetery will be replaced. Jenkins estimated that 125 feet of wall will have to be replaced, but that the part which collapsed was closer to 50 feet.

Street Department Director Chad Hampton said his crews were cleaning up the sidewalk and would stabilize the wall beside the failure with rebar and plywood. Jenkins said that as much of the old marble wall as could be saved will be cleaned up and re-used during the permanent repair.

Eight city employees and several members of an inmate labor crew which regularly work at the cemetery were involved in the clean up Friday.

The repair work did slow traffic on South Broad Street during the day Friday, but did not cause any major delays.