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Cause determined for 5th struck-by death on $2.3B I-4 Ultimate | Dump Trucks Charlotte NC

Columbus Ohio Dump Truck Company Brief:

  • A report on the Sept. 28 girder accident that killed a worker on the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project in Orlando, Florida, has shed new light on the potential cause and the recommended construction protocols moving forward.
  • Structural engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti, according to documents obtained by WFTV, prepared a report on the fatal incident and wrote that the girder that killed 37-year old Ulises Corrales Ibarra was detached from the crane before it was fully braced. The engineering firm reportedly recommended that installers leave the crane attached to the 32-ton beams until all bracing had been installed as a redundancy measure. 
  • The project was shut down for four days until SGL Constructors, a joint venture between Skanska USA, Granite Construction and The Lane Construction Corp., could fully evaluate the project's safety protocols. Girder erection restarted on Oct. 14, after Thornton Tomasetti made its observations about the bracing. In an emailed statement, SGL said construction crews would use "precautionary modifications and safety measures that include expanded girder restraint procedures during installation."​

Dump Trucks Columbus OH Insight:

A full report on the incident is scheduled for release sometime this month. SGL did not respond to Construction Dive's request for a copy of the Thornton Tomasetti evaluation. 

Ibarra was the fifth worker killed on the project since construction started and all of the deaths have been struck-by incidents. The first fatality was 34-year-old Marvin Franklin who, in February 2016, was struck by a dump truck. At the end of 2016, Curtis Popkey, 59, an employee of one of SGL's subcontractors, was killed after he was struck by a piece of equipment. In March 2018, Michael Tolman, another subcontractor employee, was killed after being hit by a falling rebar cage. Another worker was killed this past February after being hit in the head with a pipe. 

In the February 2019 incident, OSHA proposed a fine of $15,150, but settled it for $13,260.

There is still no final word on the $100 million change order that the Florida DOT, public-private partnership (P3) team I-4 Mobility Partners (a joint venture between Skanska Infrastructure Development and John Laing) and SGL have reportedly been negotiating since last year. The P3 also submitted a claim for 245 extra days on the schedule; however, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, that has increased to 271 days after delays caused by Hurricane Dorian this summer. 

The June 2018 claim was supposed to be settled in 120 days, but all sides agreed to suspend that deadline. The claim was not made public until a Moody's Investors Services report referenced it as part of the reason it was downgrading its outlook on the I-4 project from "stable" to negative, while, at the same time affirming the P3's Baa1, moderate-risk rating on $1.4 million of construction loans. 

The $100 million claim focuses on drilled shaft failures during the construction of a bridge foundation. The P3 maintains that it was not allowed to use different foundation types, which could have prevented the foundation problems in the claim. ​