FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A construction accident involving a concrete beam for the new bridge at the Union Chapel Road exit will cause stoppages on northbound I-69 for two more nights.
The north side of the highway will be closed just north of Exit 116, Dupont Road, for 20 minutes about twice an hour starting at 9 p.m.Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday and again from 9 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday.
This will allow crews to finish installing concrete beams for the Union Chapel Road bridge over the highway, which is part of the new exit being created at that road.
Around 12:15 Wednesday morning, construction crews were working on installing the eleven large cement beams for that side of the highway.
"They were putting the fourth beam in place when some rigging failed and the fourth beam fell and landed on the third beam," Mary Foster, the media relations director with the Indiana Department of Transportation, said.
I-69 was shut down until around 5:45 a.m. Wednesday. The beam was partially blocking the northbound lanes and resting against a side retaining wall. Foster said the retaining wall was not damaged, but the third cement beam would have to be replaced.
Brooks Construction of Fort Wayne is the contractor for the project, according to an INDOT press release earlier this year.
Andy Brooks with Brooks Construction told NewsChannel 15 Beaty Construction was the subcontractor installing the beams. Brooks wouldn't comment on exactly how the beam fell while an investigation into what happened is still going on.
However, a worker with Beaty told NewsChannel 15 at the scene that the the cable carrying the beam snapped. But, which cable broke and how isn't clear.
"We're making that determination and doing an investigation," Foster said. "This is something we take very seriously. We investigate the cause and put measures in place to make sure something like this doesn't happen again."
The Beaty Construction worker said the beam crashed to the ground and onto the crane narrowly avoiding workers.
"We're very relieved no one was hurt," Brooks said.
Workers were scheduled to do the same work on the southbound side of the highway Wednesday night into Thursday morning, but now that will be postponed while the northbound side is finished. When the scheduled stoppages for the southbound lanes will happen hasn't been scheduled yet.
While the beam fall creates a slight delay in progress, Brooks said the overall project will still be completed on schedule. Foster said three of the exit ramps are set to open in late fall 2012 and the fourth ramp will open in early 2013.
Brooks added that the part of the project already completed was still structurally sound and there is no danger to drivers passing by.
The accident will also not affect the project's overall cost.
"The cost falls on the contractor for this whether that's insurance or on them outright, it's their responsibility" Foster said.
Brooks said how much the accident will end up costing hasn't been determined yet. He also said which company will cover the costs, Brooks or Beaty, will be part of the investigation.
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