The investigation continues into the cause of yesterday's fatal construction accident at the new Oak Island Bridge. One worker was killed, and another was critically injured. A number of agencies are looking into how a concrete beam broke loose and killed the man, and brought construction to a halt. Work on the new east end Oak Island Bridge is over for now bringing almost a year's worth of work to an abrupt end, after a concrete girder fell from the bridge, killing Jose Montalvo of Sumter, South Carolina, and critically injuring Ricky Bryant of Supply. It's the same bridge Oak Island residents have been waiting for now for some time. Oak Island Mayor Johnie Vereen said, "This is a twelve mile island and it's a long way to get off one way or the other. We've always had just one way, so this will give us a new option with less traffic, four lane bridge." Construction on the bridge was set to be complete by next December, and was ahead of schedule. Now things are on hold until the North Carolina division of labor and lee construction company investigates the incident. Thursday, Lee Construction would only release a statement saying: "We are not exactly sure how and why this girder fell. Currently, onsite activities have ceased and there are a number of different investigators collecting information to determine the cause and how to safely proceed.” Lee was the low bidder on the bridge project, but it turns out, this is not the first time the company has experienced safety issues. Two prior safety violations were issued by the division of labor; the first was in 2002, when an inspection found deficiencies in safety training, and then in 2003, an inspection found violations including equipment problems, and inadequate fall protection. Mayor Vereen pointed out the construction company has a long history of good business, and has never had an accident like this happen before. “I think probably it will finish on schedule like it's supposed too. Unless for some reason they find something out of the normal during the investigation, but as I've said in earlier reports I really think it was just an error." A representative from the department of labor told me this investigation could take weeks or even months. We've also learned a town official was shooting video of the bridge construction for a documentary, and was rolling at the time of the accident.
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