Biggs, Wash. – A construction worker died in Southern Washington Jan. 15, when an excavator he was driving fell into the Columbia River. The worker was rescued from the water, but pronounced dead at a local hospital.
He has only been identified as an employee of Mowat Construction Co., Woodinville, Wash. Mowat officials were not available for comment on the accident.
Mowat is replacing the deck on the Biggs Bridge, which crosses the Columbia River between Biggs, Ore., and Maryhill, Wash. "The excavator was moving a steel plate when it tipped over and fell off the west side of the bridge," says Sylvia Snow, Washington State Dept. Transportation spokesperson. The DOT owns the project. The site was dry, but the area is known for its high winds.
The Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries is investigating the accident. All construction work on the jobsite is stopped, pending the results. "We expect it to reopen early next week," says Snow. "We don't expect the accident to affect the project timeline."
The $16-million project schedule calls for the bridge to reopen for the summer tourist season. After Labor Day 2008, it will be closed again so workers can rebuild the south side of the span.