Crane Accidents

Bridge Piece Falls

06/26/99

Brunswick, Georgia

2 injured at work site in Brunswick

The collapse of a structure Thursday night at the Sidney Lanier Bridge construction site injured two workers and may have set back work for months, officials said yesterday.

The 53-foot-by-70-foot support system fell 185 feet from a concrete support tower and crashed onto a rock island north of the Brunswick River channel just after 6 p.m., said Thomas L. Turner, the Georgia Department of Transportation’s director of construction.

The structure was being hoisted into place when it fell, Turner said.

Two workers, Billy Peacock and Michael Delutri, were injured when they were struck by cables that snapped, according to the Brunswick Police Department.

A construction worker walks along the edge of a construction platform that fell from the new Sidney Lanier bridge project over the Brunswick River. Two men were hurt.

— Staff

Both were treated at the Southeast Georgia Regional Medical Center Emergency Room Thursday night and released, hospital spokesman Bill Davis said.

Turner said he could not blame the fall on the failure of the cables.

”We know the cables snapped, but we don’t know the mechanics of the failure and the sequence of events,” he said.

The system has been used successfully on other bridge projects, he said.

The way the system works is that identical temporary support structures are put in place on opposite sides of support towers to provide balance, Turner said. The structures act as forms that hold concrete, and when concrete is cast on one side of the tower, an equal amount is cast on the other side for balance, he said.

Once they are hoisted into place, the structures can be moved laterally along the bridge, he said.

Brian West, project manager for Recchi-GLF Joint Venture, the Miami-based construction contractor working on the bridge, said work was suspended yesterday during the investigation of the mishap. Workers will resume a full schedule Monday, he said.

DOT spokeswoman Vicki Gavalas said the collapse could get construction off schedule from its planned Dec. 31, 2000, completion date.

Construction workers stand amid the rubble of a construction platform that collapsed Thursday at the Sidney Lanier Bridge project on the Brunswick River.

— Staff

”It demolished the piece of equipment. That will cause a delay. I don’t know how much. I know it will be months,” she said.

West said Recchi-GLF was checking with its suppliers yesterday to secure replacement components for the structure.

”It’s an expensive piece of equipment. It was sit- specific, constructed for this project,” West said.

Asked if the companies used appropriate safety measures to protect their workers, Turner said he believed the job was run safely.

A job site from 200 to 400 feet above ground always has risks, Turner said.

”You can never be too careful,” he said.

The $108 million bridge will replace the 43-year-old Sidney Lanier Bridge, a lift span that the Coast Guard has declared a hazard to navigation.

Category: Accident Report

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