Construction workers killed, 3 injured in Missouri bridge collapse

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One person died and three others were injured when a bridge in Missouri collapsed during a concrete pour on Wednesday afternoon.

The two lane bridge in Kearney, Missouri, 27 miles north of Kansas City, collapsed while contractor poured concrete on the bridge deck, trapping four people, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Connor R. Ernst, 22, of California, Missouri, was killed in the collapse while three workers escaped. Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sara Boyd said all the workers were about the same age. They were working on top of the bridge when they heard a popping noise and the bridge collapsed while concreting.

Lehman Construction Co., based in California, Missouri, is the general contractor on the project, Mike Wilson, the district’s digital communications coordinator, confirmed to Construction Dive. Lehman employed Ernst and the injured workers, Boyd said. WSP served as an engineer.

Lehman and WSP did not respond to Construction Dive’s request as of the time of publication.

According to the sheriff’s office, several other subcontractors were at the site at the time of the collapse. Wilson could not name all of the employers who were present at the time of the incident.

The Clay County Highway Department said there were no safety concerns prior to the collapse. A WSP engineer was on site Wednesday to inspect the deck, Boyd said.

The Missouri Bridge spans Carroll Creek as part of Northeast 148th Street and Shady Grove Road. It had been closed since 2016. Construction work on the bridge began in May 2021, and the bridge was scheduled to reopen in early 2023.

The sheriff’s office has forwarded its findings to OSHA, which has not publicly commented on the ongoing investigation. Boyd said initial results showed no potential criminal activity.

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