Interstate 90-Touhy Ave Construction Accident: Killed Worker Identified; Cause of Collapse Indicated

A construction worker was transported to Level I Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge and later died is identified as Vicente Santoyo. Three other construction workers suffered minor injuries were transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights. Santoyo would have turned 48 next week. Three ambulances from Des Plaines Fire Department and one ambulance from Elk Grove Township Fire Protection District responded to the scene and transported the injured construction workers.

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Initial analysis of the scene from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) indicates that construction workers were cutting a large bridge beam in half early Tuesday morning about 2:50 am. While removing the severed beam, the other half should have been held in place by a strap or chain. Firefighter/paramedics were called about 2:53 a.m. when the strap or chain failed and the beam came down on top of four construction workers. The steel beam was 187 feet long and weighed 45 tons (90,000 LBS).

Some or all of the workers injured were on scissor lifts underneath the heavy beam during the operation.

OSHA opened an investigation Tuesday morning of Omega Demolition Corporation, which is based in Elgin. Omega has had seven inspections since 2006, which have mostly been health inspections to monitor personal protection from lead exposure due to the company’s work with lead abatement. Omega had two health violations in January 2011 related to the health inspections and two violations in 2006. The violations involved payment of minor fines of $3,465 in 2011 and $3,000 in 2006.

The bridge construction is part of the $2.5 billion I-90 Rebuilding and Widening Project between Elgin and I-294. The construction project is an immense project that has caused a spike in crashes in the construction zone. Fire departments in Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates have sometimes responded to three or four crashes per day in the segment west of Route 53.

The I-90 project requires the reconstruction of bridges over local roads between Illinois Route 53 and I-294, including Golf Road, Arlington Heights Road, Busse Road, Oakton Street, Mount Prospect Road, Wolf Road, Touhy Avenue, Mannheim Road and Higgins Road in Rosemont.

Touhy Avenue is shut down for a prolonged period between Wolf Road and Lee Street for the ongoing investigation, and engineering analysis and removal of the wreckage. Touhy is not expected to reopen for several hours. On top of the bridge, two lanes of eastbound I-90 are also blocked in that area. The crane that was holding the dropped beam was positioned on the eastbound side of I-90 on the bridge.




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