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Afco Steel exonerated in Colorado accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued its final report last week on a horrific bridge collapse that killed a family of three in Colorado two years ago, and Afco Steel Inc. of Little Rock received no part of the blame.

Afco manufactured the girder that sagged onto the roadway of Interstate 70 at Golden, Colo. A 34-year-old man, his 37-year-old wife and their 2-year-old son were killed when the girder struck their SUV and sheered off the top.

In early press reports, a spokesman for the company that installed the girder, Ridge Erection Co. of Arvada, Colo., suggested that the two-part girder was marked incorrectly at the foundry, causing workers to install it backward, uninstall it and turn it around. Because of the delay, the Ridge spokesman suggested, the workers ran out of time before reopening the interstate for morning traffic and had to brace the girder temporarily rather than completing the installation.

But the NTSB didn't even mention Afco in its report. Instead, it found that "the probable cause of the May 15, 2004, girder collapse ... was the failure of the girder's temporary bracing system due to insufficient planning by Ridge Erection Company, Inc., Asphalt Specialties Inc. and the Colorado Department of Transportation, which were responsible for putting the girder and its bracing in place, and due to deficiencies in the installation of the girder and the bracing, so that the bracing ultimately failed to adequately secure the out-of-plumb girder to the existing bridge deck."

Contributing factors, the NTSB determined, were a lack of consistent bracing standards and the CDOT's failure to adequately supervise the construction work.
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Title Annotation:death of workers
Author:Moritz, Gwen
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 5, 2006
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