One worker died and another was hospitalized after they fell about 30 ft from a boom lift onto Interstate 95 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. shortly before 11 a.m. on Dec. 5.
Stephen Gollan, battalion chief for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, says the incident began when a crane on soft ground leaned forward unexpectedly and a pylon on the line fell out of its basket and struck the boom lift. Both the piling and the workers fell to the road surface of I-95.
The crane was on the edge of the canal, he says, and the front part of the tracks gave way, causing the lean.
According to local news reports from TV station Local 10, 47-year-old Joseph Bienaime died after the accident. The other worker, who was not identified, was released from the hospital on Dec. 6.
Their direct employer is not yet confirmed.
Gollan says the highway was open when the accident occurred, although no vehicles were involved. It was closed afterward and did not open until 5 a.m., Dec. 6. He says workers were trying to drive pilings in the canal to construct a bridge over it for the extension to I-95 southbound.
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called to the scene and is investigating the incident, he says.
According to the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT), the work is part of a $153-million, 6.7-mile project to create two express lanes in each direction. The project also involves installing an intelligent transportation system and tolling equipment and widening bridges between Broward Blvd. and NW 6th St on I-95 southbound and between Powerline Road and Commercial Blvd. on I-95 Northbound.
"As this remains an active investigation, FDOT will be cooperating as necessary with (Florida Highway Patrol) and OSHA on their investigation," says agency spokesperson Grace Ducanis in an email to ENR. "This is a tragic incident."
The project's Miami-based prime contractor, the de Moya Group, is set to complete the work in summer 2023, according to FDOT.