published Thursday, May 26th, 2011

TDOT halts bridge firm work after fatality

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Transportation has suspended all current construction projects by Britton Bridge and related companies after a Britton worker died Tuesday in Knoxville.

In Southeast Tennessee, that includes work on the $21.5 million project to replace the U.S. Highway 41 bridge across the Tennessee River in Marion County, TDOT spokeswoman Jennifer Flynn said Wednesday.

The suspension will continue until TDOT performs an independent review of Britton’s safety procedures, according to a news release.

The worker, Solin Estrada Jimenez, was standing on a construction barge under the Henley Street Bridge when he was hit in the head and killed by a piece of concrete that came loose from a support beam, according to The Associated Press.

An autopsy is planned.

Britton Bridge officials voluntarily suspended their projects following the fatality.

TDOT officials said in a news release that it is crucial for agency safety staff to review the measures in place before any project work continues.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Britton Bridge employee Solin Estrada Jimenez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow workers,” said Transportation Commissioner John Schroer. “We want to conduct a thorough assessment of all safety measures in place on these projects to ensure the welfare of the other employees.”

Additionally, TDOT will be temporarily disqualifying Britton Bridge, LLC and related companies from bidding on future construction projects until a more comprehensive review of their safety procedures can be conducted, the release stated.

Flynn said the Henley Street bridge renovation is similar to the rebuilding of the Market Street Bridge in Chattanooga, also a Britton project.

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