Contractor: Demo plan was flawed in deadly overpass collapse

CINCINNATI (AP) — A flawed demolition plan contributed to the collapse of a highway overpass that killed a construction worker in Cincinnati last month, the contractor for the construction project said.

The preliminary findings from an independent engineering firm have been sent to federal and state investigators, according to a statement released Saturday Kokosing Construction Company Inc.

“Our engineering firm has told us that it wouldn’t work the way it was,” Brian Burgett, chief executive officer of Columbus-based Kokosing, told The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The collapse during demolition work to remove an Interstate 75 ramp bridge just north of downtown Cincinnati killed Brandon Carl on Jan. 19. The parents of the 35-year-old father of four from Augusta, Kentucky, filed a lawsuit a week ago Ohio’s Department of Transportation, charging negligence and carelessness.

A Michigan truck driver traveling on I-75 also was injured in the late-night collapse when the front of his vehicle was crushed by the impact with the concrete and debris.

Kokosing said earlier this month that the demolition plan was changed just hours before the structure collapsed, but the company now thinks the plan was flawed from the beginning.

The plan was missing key details and didn’t say how workers should remove the ramp’s concrete road surface, the company said.

“I am very sorry, and all of us are deeply troubled by these findings,” Burgett told the Enquirer.

He said the company’s internal investigation is continuing and that other contributing factors are being considered.

Kokosing has changed its bridge demolition policy, which will now include oversight from an outside engineering firm. “We now need to do everything in our power to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again,” Burgett said.

Both the Ohio Department of Transportation and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the cause.

The state had contracted to have the demolition done by Kokosing.

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