A 45-year-old construction worker died June 2 on a Seattle highway project after he was pinned between the flatbed of a semi-truck and an 11,000-lb steel beam, said Kristin Tinsley, a city fire department spokeswoman.

The worker, whose identity and project site role were not disclosed, was killed on the $455-million State Route 520 Montlake Phase project, Tinsley said, adding a 911 call came in to the department at about 5 p.m. PST.

“On site construction workers were able to free him from between the beam and trailer prior to our arrival and began life saving efforts,” she said. “He was pronounced deceased in the medic unit on the way to the hospital.”  

The Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries was notified of the fatality late on June 2, as required, said Dina Lorraine, a department spokesperson.

She said an inspector has been at the worksite since June 3 and has opened an investigation with the two contractors on the project, Graham Construction and American Bridge. No detail was provided on which firm employed the worker, or if he had worked for a subcontractor.

Graham did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment.

The investigation, which must conclude within six months, will determine the cause of the incident and if any workplace safety and health violations contributed to it. 

The Montlake Phase portion of the Washington State Dept. of Transportation’s SR 520 improvement includes replacing a West Approach Bridge that connects the land with the world’s longest floating bridge across Lake Washington and replacing the existing Montlake Boulevard undercrossing.

It also involves the addition of two new direct-access ramps onto SR 520; a pedestrian crossing over the highway to connect to trails, the Washington Park Arboretum and a park; and additional multi-modal improvements, including a shared-used tunnel under Montlake Boulevard.

The design-build contract was awarded to Calgary-based Graham, which started construction on the project in 2019 with a expected completion date of 2023.