St. Patrick’s day accident on 520 Bridge
Not that I’m superstitious, but what happened on the 520 bridge yesterday has a bizarre, “Friday the 13th” quality to it. According to The Seattle Times, a sign hit a bus near Lake Washington Boulevard on the west side of the bridge. Eight people were taken to the hospital for “minor injuries.”
Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Webb explained that a pipe [used to support a temporary work bridge] hit the bus, ricocheted off the top of the bus and hit the sign. That traffic sign then fell back on the bus, destroying the front of the bus. Witnesses say that the bus driver was lying on the ground and drivers had stopped and jumped over the median to help others on the bus.
WSDOT is meeting with the prime contractor, Flatiron Construction, to learn how this happened. Hopefully, they will figure out a way that this will never happen again. Thank goodness that more serious injuries did not result from this.
I cannot help but be reminded of the Lacey Hicks case, when a light post that had rusted out from its base had crashed through Ms. Hicks’s car. Lacey had to get extracted from the car with “jaws of life.” After SKW was hired to represent Lacey, much needed improvements were finally made with the remaining, dangerous light posts replaced.
WSDOT spokesman Ian Sterling:“The [pipes] are not supposed to swing across a live lane of traffic. That was never supposed to happen,” he said. Flatiron, whose subcontractor was moving the pipes, will be held responsible for funding or building a new sign, he said.
The Seattle Times article mentions that contractors have delivered pipes this way several times before with WSDOT consent. In the past, they have closed the right westbound lane of Highway 520, as traffic passed in the inside lane. Last night a routine one-lane closure was underway for the truck to park on the right side, while the crane mounted on the work bridge grasped the pipes.
These pipes are used to support a temporary work bridge in the lake near Foster Island, where Flatiron is constructing a $200 million highway segment — to carry three future westbound lanes.