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Construction worker killed as 45-ton bridge beam falls

Three others were injured when the beam, supported by two cranes, fell.

By
Ed Adamczyk
Chicago's Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, where a 45-ton steel beam in a bridge construction project fell Tuesday, killing a construction worker. Photo by aneekr/Wikimedia
Chicago's Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, where a 45-ton steel beam in a bridge construction project fell Tuesday, killing a construction worker. Photo by aneekr/Wikimedia

DES PLAINES , Ill., April 5 (UPI) -- A 45-ton, 187-foot steel beam fell and killed a construction worker Tuesday at a suburban Chicago bridge job site.

Three others were injured when the support beam, held in place by two cranes, fell on the crew during overnight work on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway Bridge in Des Plaines, Ill. The victims were not identified; three suffered minor injuries and the fourth was hospitalized in critical condition and later pronounced dead.

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As they worked to remove and replace massive beams, the workers were in construction lifts under the bridge when the beam, designed to support the bridge, fell, Des Plaines Fire Chief Alan Wax said. Des Plaines Police Chief Bill Kushner added, "We're waiting for OSHA to come out to conduct their investigation as to the mechanics of the accident."

The cause of the accident remains unknown.

The incident occurred on a closed section of the highway, so there was no danger to traffic, but the beam remained in the road Tuesday, blocking an adjacent street, Touhy Avenue.

"They're going to have to figure out how exactly to get it out of here. Whether they can lift it out, or they need to cut it, we just don't know at this point. Definitely the road's going to be closed in both directions for several hours, certainly through the morning rush hour. We're not yet sure about the afternoon," Wax said.

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