In North Carolina, a tragedy didn’t deter our Wake Tech team

The entirety of the project demonstrates our team’s commitment to safety, and their dedication to completing this project on schedule.

Our Wake Technical Community College team recently brought to a strong finish a $49.5 million project that could have been anything but successful, following last November’s collapse of a 130-foot-long timber pedestrian bridge that killed one worker. (State regulators have pointed to design flaws as the cause.) The entirety of the project demonstrates our team’s commitment to safety, and their dedication to completing this project on schedule.

“I’m most proud that we made it,” said Senior Project Manager Kate Moore. “And that the owner is still happy with Skanska.”

This summer, our team raced to meet a July 31 owner deadline for this project, which includes an 88,000-square-foot library/classroom building, a 782-space parking deck and a central energy plant. To meet that deadline so the college would be ready for the fall semester, our team ran operations seven days a week from April until the end of July, sometimes both days and nights. They couldn’t be late, as that could have impacted our ability to win other work for local universities, a market that’s key to our Carolinas/Virginia office.

Helping keep the trade contractors motivated was that our entire team was working those extended hours with them – everyone was contributing all they could.

“Our team really pulled together,” Moore said. “We weren’t going to quit. We were either going to go down fighting, or we were going to make it.”

Added Executive Vice President Steve Stouthamer: “I am very proud with how hard the team worked to stay focused. They rose up and accomplished that despite the challenge of the bridge collapsing and other hurdles they faced.”

The November 13th collapse that killed Jose Luis Rosales-Nava and seriously injured four others was heartbreaking for our team. However, it also highlighted some of the best of Skanska. For instance, we held a voluntary, national drive to provide the affected families with some immediate, short-term support while the insurance companies were still conducting their analyses. Stouthamer said the support from across the country was “touching,” and it resulted in thousands of dollars for the families.

Also, the North Carolina Department of Labor thoroughly audited all aspects of the project following the incident, and the collapse later that day of a second, similarly designed bridge that we had at the same stage of construction. (The second collapse didn’t cause any injuries as we had proactively shut that bridge down after the earlier incident.) Skanska did not receive any violations or citations.

“From this, we learned a lot about the character of our company,” Stouthamer said. “Despite the tragedy, it was very inspiring.”

Skanska offices nationwide donated thousands of dollars to provide immediate, short-term support for the families of those affected by the collapse of a timber pedestrian bridge. The parking deck is shown here.

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