Worker dies on bridge project in Toledo, Ohio

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Veterans' Glass City Skyway in Toledo, Ohio.

Andrew Burris, from Curtis, Ohio, and member of Carpenters Local 1138, died in Toledo, Ohio when the construction platform he was on fell around 9:15 a.m. EST. The platform was attached to the northbound side of the Veterans' Glass City Skyway, a new bridge on Interstate 280. The platform was clamped to the side of the bridge, and broke off. Burris fell about 95 feet to the ground, where he landed on the east side of the roadway. Authorities from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration do not know why the platform broke free from the bridge. The Toledo Police department does not suspect foul play, and considers the death to be accidental. The $220 million bridge is scheduled for opening in June, 2007, and is the largest construction project in the history of Ohio.

"On behalf of Director Beasley and the Ohio Department of Transportation, we extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Andrew Burris," said ODOT District 2 director, Dave Dysard. "We also extend our condolences to his relatives, friends and his fellow workers who have made us proud through their commitment and dedication to their work. Andrew was a part of the team that took the pylon to the top back in 2005. For four-and-a-half years, he was an integral part of the team that worked to complete this vital link for our community."

This is the second fatal accident on the bridge. On Presidents' Day in 2004, five workers were killed and four were injured when a crane collapsed.

Mr. Burris was from a line of carpenters, and kept a scrapbook of the project. His mother, Ruth, was quoted as saying "I think he felt closer to heaven there."