Bypass overpass rises again

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By JOSHUA WOLFSON

Crews building a Mono Way overpass are taking steps to prevent it from collapsing as it did in July, a Caltrans official said yesterday.

"The engineers on the job say there isn't any concern of it reoccurring," said spokeswoman Tina Walker. "We've added additional bracing (to the structure)."

The wood-and-steel framework used to support the overpass during construction collapsed July 5 just east of Sanguinetti Road in East Sonora. No one was injured the collapse occurred on a Saturday when crews were off but tons of material fell to the ground.

Work resumed soon after the collapse, and this week, crews laid several large steel beams above the road. That shouldn't alarm drivers passing underneath, said Walker.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure safety," she said.

The overpass will eventually serve as part of the new Highway 108 once the first phase of the East Sonora Bypass Project is completed sometime next year.

An investigation into the collapse by R.M. Harris Co., the contractor responsible for the project's overpasses and bridges, has been completed, but Walker said she hasn't seen the final report.

Caltrans was involved in the investigation, she said.

Walker said she did not know the substance of the report, the cause of the collapse or when the report would be available.

A call to R.M. Harris President Dave Harris was not returned yesterday.

In the days following the collapse, Caltrans officials said the investigation would be coordinated by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The incident was reported to Cal OSHA, but the agency did not pursue it, said Dean Fryer, Cal OSHA spokesman.

"We never did anything on this because there were not employee injuries," he said.

The collapse did not affect the bypass project's schedule and did not cost taxpayers any additional money, Walker said.

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The Union Democrat
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