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Accident Report Detail

Passenger Vehicle Collision With a Fallen Overhead Bridge Girder

Executive Summary

​On May 15, 2004, about 10:04 a.m., mountain daylight time, a 2002 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle (SUV) driven by a 34-year-old man eastbound on Interstate 70 (I–70) approached the Colorado State Route 470 (C–470) overpass. The driver’s 37-year-old wife and their 2-year-old child were also in the SUV. The interchange of I–70 and C–470 was in a temporary traffic control zone for a highway construction project, during which an additional entry ramp and two additional lanes were being constructed for the overpass.

Probable Cause

​The Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the May 15, 2004, girder collapse in Golden, Colorado, during a highway bridge-widening project 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 to the accident were the lack of uniform, consistent bracing standards and the Colorado Department of Transportation’s narrow definition of falsework, which did not include lateral bracing. Also contributing to the accident was the failure of the Colorado Department of Transportation to effectively oversee safety-critical contract work for the project.

Accident Location: Golden , CO    
Accident Date: 5/15/2004
Accident ID: HWY04MH023

Date Adopted: 5/31/2006
NTSB Number: HAB-06-01
NTIS Number: