Funeral Today for Construction Worker Killed in Fall from I-280 Bridge

Burris, seen in a family photo
Burris, seen in a family photo
Burris fell from the deck of the bridge to the ground below.
Burris fell from the deck of the bridge to the ground below.
The scaffold that Burris was standing on gave way.
The scaffold that Burris was standing on gave way.

FREMONT -- A local carpenter killed while working on the Veterans Glass City Skyway bridge will be laid to rest on Wednesday.  Funeral services for Andrew Burris will happen at 11:00am at Victory Christian Fellowship Church in Fremont.

Burris, 36, was working on the north side of the bridge around 9:15am last Thursday when it gave way.  Burris fell about 80 feet, and landed in a grassy area near Summit Street next to the existing I-280 traffic lanes. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sent investigators to the scene. In a news release, the Ohio Department of Transportation said its representatives are working with the contractor, OSHA and Fru-Con to review the accident.

"On behalf of Director Beasley and the Ohio Department of Transportation, we extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Andrew Burris," said Dave Dysard, ODOT District 2 director at a news conference last week. "We also extend our condolences to his relatives, friends and his fellow workers who have made us proud through their commitment and dedication to their work."

"Andrew was a part of the team that took the pylon to the top back in 2005. For four-and-a-half years, he was an integral part of the team that worked to complete this vital link for our community," said Dysard.

At a construction cost of $220 million dollars, the Skyway is the largest single construction project in ODOT history. When completed, the cable-stayed, precast segmental concrete bridge will carry six lanes of Interstate 280 across the Maumee River in Toledo. It replaces the Craig Memorial Bridge, one of the few remaining drawbridges in the U.S. interstate system.

In February of 2004, four ironworkers were killed and four more were hurt when a 1,000-ton construction truss came crashing down. The truss was used to lift concrete sections of the roadway into place. Nearly all the crane's wreckage fell between the highway lanes, narrowly missing passing traffic and landing on two construction trucks.

Killed were Mike Phillips, 42; Robert Lipinski, Jr., 44; and Mike Moreau, 30. Arden Clark II, 47, died of his injuries in the days shortly after the incident. Four more people were hurt.

After an investigation, OSHA determined the company failed to properly secure the truss before the collapse. Bridge contractor Fru-Con agreed to pay $293,000 in fines and increase safety oversight. The company also agreed that it will now have at least one independent consultant at all of its bridge projects in the U.S.

OSHA also fined St. Louis-based Fru-Con $280,000 -- the maximum allowed -- because the agency said the company violated four workplace safety standards. OSHA said at the time that the company knew of the problems and did nothing to correct it.

Fru-Con paid $11.25 million dollars to settle lawsuits filed in Lucas County by the families of Phillips, Lipinski, and Clark. The company reached a separate settlement with Moreau's family, who sued in a Monroe County court.

The bridge was scheduled to open later this year. Count on News 11 to follow the bridge as construction continues.

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Posted by KO