Worker Killed, One Hospitalized From Bridge Collapse at Triangle Job Site

Wed June 21, 2006 - Midwest Edition
Richard Miller

The upgrading of the Triangle, the convergence of Interstates 435 and 470 and Highway 71 in southeastern Kansas City, MO, was halted by tragedy when a 300-ft. (91.4 m) section of old highway bridge collapsed unexpectedly on June 3. The collapse killed one worker and hospitalized another.

The workers were employed by APAC-Kansas Inc. of Kansas City, KS, the primary contractor for Phase 3 of a multi-phase undertaking by Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to rebuild the Triangle.

Original construction began in 2001 with the final phase to be completed in 2008.

The $50-million Phase 3 contract was awarded to APAC in July 2003. It is scheduled to be completed in 2006. APAC’s responsibility is replacing nine aging bridge decks with five new structures.

When the Triangle project is completed in 2008 all 26 original bridges will have been replaced.

APAC workers were preparing an abandoned bridge for demolition when three 100-ft. (30.5 m) spans collapsed on a secondary road that parallels the main interchange highways. The abandoned structure originally connected I-470 to southbound U.S. 71 highway.

Two workers rode the collapse to the ground. Firefighters pulled one worker from the debris but he was later declared dead at the scene. The hospitalized worker was released from the hospital later that day.

Officials from MoDOT and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) immediately arrived on the scene to investigate the accident. A final report of the cause of the accident will not be available immediately.

Upon completing its investigation MoDOT proceeded in dropping the remaining bridge structure June 7.

Traffic from all directions was halted while explosive charges were used to drop the structure. Debris cleanup was minimal and normal traffic was soon restored. CEG