Emergency responders spent approximately one hour on May 1 freeing a construction worker who was trapped between rebar on a bridge pier 100-ft above the ground in Union County, Pa.
Another worker was also trapped when a reinforcing bar suddenly shifted on top of the pier they were working on, said David Thompson, PennDOT District 3 spokesman.
Work immediately halted on the bridge. Thompson said the worker who was freed didn’t appear injured but he was taken to the hospital for evaluation. OSHA is investigating the cause of the accident.
Chief Rick Wetzel of the Union Township Fire Co. told the Daily Item that the workers were securing rebar while preparing for a concrete pour on top of the pier. “The structure bent for some reason,” Wetzel said. “Nobody really knows why at this point.”
Wetzel said the rebar was steadied with a crane before it was cut and the worker was released. “Really, there are no trucks around tall enough to reach that,” Wetzel said.
Both men work for Pittsburgh-based Trumbull Corp.
The men were working on a pier for a new bridge over the Susquehanna River. The estimated $156-million bridge will span 4,500-ft long with a peak elevation of 180 ft. The bridge is expected the be completed in 2019. The bridge is part of a 13-mile limited access road that connects Route 147 in Northumberland County with US 15 in Union County.
The bridge and the road are part of a larger $670 million Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation Project that started approximately a year ago and is tentatively expected to be completed in 2024.