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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2004

Crane cleanup going smoothly

BY MIKE WILKINSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Crews remove a broken section of bridge segment from the new I-280 river crossing. Workers are continuing to clear debris from the site where four people died after a crane collapsed last week. Crews remove a broken section of bridge segment from the new I-280 river crossing. Workers are continuing to clear debris from the site where four people died after a crane collapsed last week.
LONG / BLADE Enlarge

Cleanup of the I-280 bridge wreckage continued yesterday without problems as workers cleared debris so northbound I-280 can be opened completely later this week.

A portion of the truss crane that fell into the northbound lanes was removed, said Joe Rutherford, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Four men were killed as a result of the Feb. 16 collapse of a truss crane used to erect the bridge spans. Four other men were hurt; one remains hospitalized.

Crews yesterday cleared some cables, debris on the elevated road deck, a small crane, and a truck from the site. The wreckage will be moved to a site on Jessie Street in East Toledo. It will not be open to the public.

With the debris tangled by cables and twisted metal, the contractors must have an approved plan before any piece is moved, said Richard Martinko, ODOT s assistant director for highway management. So far, the contractors have predicted correctly how each piece would react when another was removed.

“They got it right,” Mr. Martinko said. “Not any problems.”

Meanwhile, a Dallas-based consulting firm hired by ODOT to help determine the cause of the accident is expected to interview an estimated 40 workers who work on the project. Representatives from Haag Engineering Co., which specializes in failure and damage consulting, have been in Toledo for several days.

To make it easier on employees, interviews are being scheduled jointly with investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, from Haag, and from a consulting firm hired by Fru-Con, general contractor for the project. “All of the parties want to hear the same thing at the same time,” Mr. Martinko said.

Mr. Martinko said workers are not required to participate in the interviews with Haag. He said they are informal so that ODOT and the others can determine a cause.

ODOT still hopes to open the northbound lanes of I-280 to all traffic later this week. Currently, northbound traffic is open only for local traffic from State Rt. 795 to State Rt. 2.



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