Overpass collapses north of Sacramento, trapping vehicle | SierraSun.com

Overpass collapses north of Sacramento, trapping vehicle

Associated Press

OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) ” A highway overpass that was under construction collapsed early Tuesday, crushing a delivery truck and injuring a bridge worker.

Firefighters swarmed the FedEx delivery truck to cut its driver from underneath a large steel beam that crushed the hood but missed the cab. A second beam landed on the back of the truck.

The driver was pulled free and put on a stretcher about 2 1/2 hours after he was trapped. He suffered major injuries, said Roger Craven, a California Highway Patrol dispatcher in Chico. A FedEx spokesman had no immediate comment.

A construction worker who was on top of the structure also was injured when it collapsed about 7:15 a.m. Craven described the worker’s injuries as moderate and said he was flown to a hospital in Chico.

The overpass was being built at the intersection of highways 149 and 70 in Butte County, about an hour north of Sacramento, CHP spokesman Karen Ogle said. The highway patrol isn’t sure when the roads will reopen and directed drivers to use detours using Highway 162.

The $105 million construction project is intended to make Highway 149 a four-lane expressway with interchanges at highways 70 and 99.

The collapsed material consisted of wood and steel beams that were being used as the forms to create one of the overpasses, said Shelly Chernicki, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation.

She said officials had not identified a cause for the collapse.

“There’s going to be a thorough investigation to why this happened,” Chernicki said.

Near the overpass, one person was injured when a sedan and a Department of Transportation pickup truck collided. It was not immediately clear whether that accident was directly related to the bridge collapse.