I-4 Ultimate construction to pause after falling beam kills construction worker in downtown Orlando

click to enlarge I-4 Ultimate construction to pause after falling beam kills construction worker in downtown Orlando
Photo via i4ultimate.com
Update, 7:30 p.m. | A 7 p.m. update from the Florida Department of Transportation says FDOT met with I-4 Ultimate contractor, SGL Constructors, "to discuss plans, protocols and safety measures." Construction crews will return to their job sites and field offices Tuesday for assessment of safety plans, procedures, and job site safety, with crews returning to work "as the week continues and only after safety protocols and procedures have been completed."

An investigation into the fatal accident continues, and FDOT says no girder erection or installation will be performed on the project "until this investigation progresses substantially and the root causes of Saturday’s incident can be understood." SGL Constructors has engaged a forensic engineer to assist with the investigation.

A downtown Orlando construction accident on Saturday night left one worker dead and another in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

According to SGL Constructors, the contractor responsible for I-4 Ultimate construction, the accident was caused when a beam crashed down into a construction area around 6:30 p.m., near the I-4/408 interchange by Lake Lucerne.

Florida Department of Transportation released a statement noting their mission statement includes "the goal of being congestion- and fatality-free."

"It is our view the goal of fatality free extends to FDOT construction and maintenance projects, and to the contractors that perform the work. We are saddened to hear about last night's tragic event. We would like to offer sincere sympathy and condolence to the family during this difficult time."

WFTV reported Orlando Fire District Chief Walter Lewis saying, "We found that one patient was already transported from the scene by bystanders to the hospital. Unfortunately, another was heavily trapped. He succumbed to his injuries, and we remained on scene to assist with removing him."

The I-4 Ultimate construction project is currently suspended along its 21 miles, except for emergency maintenance. This is the fifth worker death since the start of the I-4 Ultimate project. An Orlando Sentinel analysis found more than 160 injuries have been reported to federal authorities.

I-4 westbound had been scheduled to close every Monday through Friday night between State Road 434 and State Road 436 for nearly three weeks, starting tonight, Sept. 30, until Oct. 18. Those Seminole County closures, planned to take place from midnight to 5 a.m. each night, are now suspended along with the rest of the project.

"The incident is under investigation by SGL Constructors," said the FDOT in the statement. "The FDOT expects a full accounting from the contractor as to the cause. Furthermore, FDOT will require corrective measures be put in place to prevent further injuries and deaths associated with this project. This includes an after action plan for increased safety and renewed emphasis that the contractor continues enforcing a culture of safety during all aspects of the I-4 Ultimate project."

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