Construction worker killed in Clay County bridge collapse

A bridge construction project in Clay County near Kearny has turned deadly. Now, a workplace...
A bridge construction project in Clay County near Kearny has turned deadly. Now, a workplace safety investigation is underway.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 9:41 PM CDT
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CLAY COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - A bridge construction project in Clay County near Kearney has turned deadly. Now, a workplace safety investigation is underway.

The two-lane bridge at NE 148th Street and Shady Grove Road was undergoing a full replacement under contract with the county.

“Workers with Lehman Construction Company that had been contracted by Clay County were pouring the decking for the bridge this afternoon when the collapse happened,” wrote Mike Wilson, the county’s digital communications coordinator.

Clay County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sarah Boyd said emergency crews were dispatched on the collapse at 1:44 p.m. on Wednesday. She said three men managed to get out with minor injuries, but a fourth was trapped in wet concrete.

“It was not safe for firefighters to get down there to try to extricate him,” said Boyd. “They had to build up some barriers to make it safe for them to go in. I know it took a probably about an hour, maybe a little bit more, to be able to get in there and get him out.”

Lehman Construction is located in California, Missouri. KCTV5 checked OSHA inspection records from 2017 to present. The search returned one violation in 2019 related to excavation requirements that OSHA considered serious, but not willful. The company was fined $8,619.

Boyd spoke with a member of the Clay County Highway Department and relayed the following information about the project:

  • The bridge has been out of service since 2016.
  • The construction project began in May of 2021.
  • There were “no previous safety concerns with the project.”
  • An engineer was onsite Wednesday to perform a safety inspection prior to the deck being poured.

The county contracted with WSP Engineering to design the bridge and perform inspections.

What went wrong will now be up to OSHA to investigate.

Previous coverage:

1 worker killed, others injured in bridge collapse near Kearney