Design flaws led to November fatality in North Carolina, regulators say

Flaws in the design of glued laminated timber girders led to last November’s fatal collapse of a pedestrian bridge we were building at North Carolina’s Wake Tech Community College, the North Carolina Department of Labor has found. Skanska did not receive any violations or citations.

Crews were pouring the concrete deck of the 130-foot-long bridge when it collapsed at a height of up to 50 feet over a ravine, killing worker Jose Luis Rosales-Nava and seriously injuring four others. Later that day, a second, similarly designed bridge we were building on site that was at about the same stage of construction also collapsed. The second collapse didn’t cause any injuries, as we had proactively shut that bridge down after the earlier accident.

“The report concluded notches in the girders were designed poorly, which prevented both bridges from being able to carry the weight of the structures,” according to an Associated Press story on the findings.

The state Labor Department won’t fine or cite designer Stewart Engineering because it doesn’t regulate engineering. However, it has referred this case to the state Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors, which can issue fines and revoke engineering licenses.

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  1. I would hope to see a little more detailed info on this. Why were there notches in the girders? Maybe a graphic illustration of what went wrong so it can be avoided in the future?

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