Workers were doing a partial demolition of the bridge in Bonney Lake when a section fell on a pickup below, killing a couple and their infant.
The state has assessed $86,800 in fines against four contractors involved in a partial bridge collapse in Bonney Lake that killed a family of three driving on the road below.
Josh and Vanessa Ellis, of Bonney Lake, and their 8-month-old son, Hudson, died in the April 13 incident under a Highway 410 overpass. Contractors were doing a partial demolition to make room for a sidewalk and lights in a $1.7 million city project.
A concrete-cutting crew that morning made a lengthwise slice at the edge of the bridge, and a piece of concrete barrier 110 feet long fell. Flaggers were stationed nearby but hadn’t been told yet to divert traffic.
The state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced the findings on Monday, after notifying the companies Friday, said spokesman Tim Church. Contractors have 15 days to appeal, he said.
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The state’s allegations echo comments after the accident by Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson, who said in an interview that contractors didn’t follow their own strategy. The demolition plan called for an outer wall of the bridge to be cut away in 8- to 10-foot lengths, while heavy equipment held each piece, and flaggers blocked or diverted a traffic lane of Angeline Road below.
The four companies exposed workers to the risk of a sudden bridge collapse, according to the state. All four had personnel on site when the bridge part fell, the agency’s news release said.
L&I says it fined the demolition company Staton Construction, based in Eugene, Ore., a total of $58,800 for one willful violation and two serious violations.
“Staton oversaw the cutting of the concrete barrier by its subcontractor, but failed to provide a demolition plan to the subcontractor,” L&I said in its news release. According to the citation, “All employees of the demolition firm shall be informed of the elements of the demolition plan so that they may conduct their work activity in a safe manner.”
Staton referred an interview request to a Seattle attorney, who was not immediately available to comment. The company says it has successfully demolished more than 300 bridges over roads and rivers.
Hamilton Construction, of Springfield, Ore., cutting the concrete barrier, was fined $14,700. The company plans to appeal but has no further comment for now, said a spokeswoman, Linda Scronce-Johnson.
WHH Nisqually Federal Services, of Tacoma, the prime contractor, was fined $8,400; and Highmark Concrete Contractors, of Buckley, Pierce County, a subcontractor to WHH Nisqually, was fined $4,900, the state said.
A wrongful-death lawsuit was filed Aug. 27 against the city and six companies by attorney Kevin Patrick Sullivan in Pierce County Superior Court.