Worker Killed in Blanchette Bridge Construction Accident

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ST. CHARLES, MO. (KTVI) – A worker on the Blanchette Bridge project has died in a construction accident on Monday morning. He has been identified as Patrick Bray, 51, of Jerseyville, IL by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office. He died at a staging area on the river after being struck by a 55 gallon drum.  Barges are being used to put together materials for bridge construction.

Todd Purcell fishes near the area.

"I see them lifting all that heavy stuff on the cranes all the time," he said. "It is a very dangerous job."

Walsh construction of Chicago, Illinois is the contractor in charge of the project.  They sent a release saying that work has been halted while the company focuses on providing support to co-workers and friends on the project. A company investigation is looking into what caused this accident.

The company declined to release the worker's name.

"I am just praying for his family," Purcell said. "This is a horrible."

The U.S. Coast Guard was on the scene when the drum fell on the worker. It was observing part of the project and a member of the coast guard performed CPR on the worker, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The U.S. Coast Guard was helping the company return a barge and crane to the staging area that was swept down river two weeks ago during strong storms in the area.

The barge and crane slammed into the Discovery Bridge.

It is the same barge and crane the victim was working on when he was killed Monday.

Walsh Construction offered its condolences to the victim's family.

There is a lot of construction by Walsh Construction going on in the the area.

MoDOT closed the westbound side of the Blanchette Bridge last November for a maximum of one year. Walsh Construction has completed most of the work ahead of schedule.

Walsh Construction does have a significant financial incentive for finishing the project early. The company gets a bonus of $40,000 per day up to $1.4 million for finishing early. The total cost of the project is $64 million.

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