Cause of Oak Island Bridge collapse determined - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Cause of Oak Island Bridge collapse determined

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) - Last December a photographer captured the terrifying few seconds of a beam collapsing on the new Oak Island Bridge, killing a construction worker.

A report issued by the Rimkus Consulting Group of Charlotte, shows the primary cause of the collapse was due to improper welding of high strength rods that should not have been welded.

The Department of Transportation issued a statement saying that it will allow the contractor to being working again, but will review the report to ensure any and all appropriate adjustments are made to future girder erections.

The entire statement reads:

DOT officials today received the contractor's investigative report regarding the Oak Island bridge project. The entire report will be posted on the DOT website within 24 hours.

According to the report, the primary cause of the failure was improper welding of high strength rods that should not have been welded. These rods were a part of the contractor's temporary girder support system.

Also cited in the report is a contributing cause of improper installation of temporary diaphragms.

Our first priority is safety. Before the DOT will allow the contractor to begin working again, we are reviewing this report to ensure any and all appropriate adjustments are made to future girder erections.

Our goal is to have our review complete by the end of the week and a determination of next steps within two weeks.

OSHA's review is ongoing at this time. 

On Dec. 3, 2008, contractors on the second bridge to Oak Island were setting a girder (bridge support), when the girder fell killing one contractor employee and injuring two others. As a result, the contractor hired a private engineering firm to complete an independent investigation and report. 

Kyle Thomas, a spokesperson for the Town of Oak Island said he agrees with the DOT.

"The town is very saddened by what happened, but we have also been waiting quite a while for the bridge to be complete," said Thomas.

The bridge was originally scheduled to be completed by Dec. 31, 2009.  Now, town officials hope to have the project finished sometime next year.

 

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