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Bridge collapse blamed on contractor

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Collapse caused by equipment

The cause of the June Pennsy Bridge collapse in Ridgway has been determined to be the placement of heavy construction equipment on the bridge, which was not studied and deemed structurally sound to support its weight during construction. Work on the superstructure of the 103-year-old bridge began in March and was completed in October. (Photo by Katie Weidenboerner)

RIDGWAY — Two violations from OSHA have put months of community speculation to rest by laying blame on the contractor for the June collapse of the Pennsy Bridge in Ridgway.

On Dec. 3, the federal regulatory agency cited Francis J. Palo Inc., the contractor on the $2.2 million reconstruction project, for not performing an engineering study to determine the bridge conditions and the possibility of an unplanned collapse before allowing employees to start the demolition operations.

It also faulted the company for parking a 101,800-pound excavator on the bridge without first ensuring the bridge was strong enough to hold it.

The violations were deemed “serious” by the OSHA report.

Find the full story in today's Courier-Express.

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