1 construction worker killed, 3 injured in Missouri bridge collapse

One person has died and three others were injured after a Missouri bridge collapsed Wednesday afternoon during a concrete pour.

The two-lane bridge in Kearney, Missouri, 27 miles north of Kansas City, collapsed while contractors poured concrete on the bridge deck, trapping four people, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. 

Connor R. Ernst, 22, of California, Missouri was killed in the collapse, while three workers escaped. Sara Boyd, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, said all the workers were roughly the same age. They were working on top of the bridge when they heard a popping sound and the bridge collapsed while pouring concrete.

Lehman Construction Co., based in the town of California, Missouri, is the general contractor on the project, Mike Wilson, the county’s digital communications coordinator confirmed to Construction Dive. Lehman employed Ernst and the injured workers, Boyd said. WSP served as engineer.

Lehman and WSP did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment by the time of publication. 

There were several other subcontracting companies on the jobsite at the time of the collapse, the sheriff’s office said. Wilson could not name all of the employers present at the time of the incident.

The Clay County Highway Department said there were no safety concerns prior to the collapse. A WSP engineer was on site Wednesday inspecting before the deck was poured.

The Missouri bridge spans Carroll Creek as part of Northeast 148th Street and Shady Grove Road. It had been closed since 2016. Construction work on the bridge began in May 2021, and the bridge was set to reopen in early 2023.

The Sheriff’s Office has passed its findings onto OSHA, which does not comment publicly on ongoing investigations. Boyd said initial findings did not show any potential criminal activity.

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