Colorado highway department tightens girder rules

| 8/10/2004

The Colorado Department of Transportation released new requirements for erecting steel and concrete girders Aug. 9 in response to the collapse of a girder in May that killed a family of three.

The proposals provide for more inspections and planning.

Contractors must now provide complete details of plans to erect girders, and a state-licensed engineer must approve the plan, The Associated Press reported. The contractor’s engineer would inspect and approve each stage of installation before vehicles or pedestrians could pass on or below it, and would approve any changes. Proposed changes also would have to be submitted to the highway department.

At least two weeks before a girder is installed, the contactor’s engineer, an erection subcontractor and a CDOT project engineer must meet to discuss work plans and safety requirements.

“The measures we’re taking will provide additional levels of control from both a quality and safety standpoint,” CDOT Executive Director Tom Norton said in a statement.

On May 15, William Post, his wife, Anita, and their 2-year-old daughter, all of Evergreen, CO, were traveling under a bridge when a 40-ton girder dropped onto their vehicle. The girder was part of a project to expand a bridge over Interstate 70 near Golden, CO.

A second girder that experts said would have helped brace the one that sagged was never installed because of delays that left workers no time to install it before I-70 was scheduled to reopen. Weather also delayed work on the girders.