Demolition plan changed prior to deadly overpass collapse


CINCINNATI (AP) - A demolition plan for a Cincinnati highway overpass was changed hours before the structure collapsed last month, killing a worker, according to the contractor for the highway construction project.

The plan for demolishing the overpass above Interstate 75 changed after steel beams supporting the structure's concrete deck began rising during demolition the night of Jan. 18, according to Kokosing Construction Company Inc., of Columbus, Ohio.

Kokosing official John Householder said Friday that the crew implemented the changes the next afternoon, installing anchors to tie down the beams. The collapse occurred about 10:30 that night, killing Brandon Carl, of Augusta, Kentucky, and injuring a Michigan truck driver traveling on I-75.

The company said it is not uncommon for beams to lift during this type of demolition, but the crew didn't want to proceed until checking with an engineer.

"On Jan. 19, the demolition plan was reviewed by the professional engineer and an adjustment was made to address the beam uplift issue that had occurred the previous night," a company news release said.

The release accompanied demolition plan documents first obtained Thursday by The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Householder said the company is cooperating with investigators from the Ohio Department of Transportation and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to determine the cause of the collapse.

"We don't want to speculate at this point," he said.

A Department of Transportation spokesman confirmed Friday that the agencies are still investigating.

Kokosing CEO Brian Burgett said in a statement that the company is retaining a third-party engineering firm to review all of its demolition plans and independent experts to thoroughly review the Cincinnati plan.

"We want to know exactly what happened that day," Burgett said.

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Originally published