BRIDGE RESCUE: Bridge over I-75 in Cincinnati collapses

One worker is killed as crews attempted to prep span for demolition

Bridges News January 20, 2015
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The Hopple Street Bridge over I-75 in Cincinnati has collapsed, killing one.
 
On Tuesday morning, officials were on the scene trying to determine exactly what went wrong during the demolition process of the northbound off-ramp, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened up an investigation into the death of the construction worker.
 
The collapse occurred late Monday night. Two workers were on top of the overpass setting the span up for demolition when it fell onto I-75. One of the workers, Billy Hargett, was walking away from his partner when the collapse occurred. Hargett’s life was spared, but the other man, who has yet to be identified, was not as lucky. A semi-truck slammed into the fallen structure seconds after it landed on I-75. The driver walked away with minor injuries.
 
According to the latest bridge data from the Federal Highway Administration nothing was structurally wrong with the Hopple Street Bridge. The span was being demolished following the opening of a new bridge not far from the crash site.
 
“What appears to have happened is, in essence, an industrial incident, a workplace incident with respect to a construction crew that’s doing work out here,” said Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black. “Something went wrong, and a tragedy has occurred as a result.”
 
I-75 remained closed on Tuesday morning, and officials said it could take days before it is reopened.

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