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Worker dies at Hoover Dam bypass bridge project

Work on project has been halted during OSHA investigation

Hoover Dam bypass bridge project

Richard Brian

This photo from June shows support arches for the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge as they begin to take shape on the Arizona side of the Colorado River Bridge project.

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008 | 3:08 p.m.

A Las Vegas construction worker died at the Hoover Dam bypass bridge project on Monday.

The Clark County coroner's office said 48-year-old Sherman Jones's death was accidental. The cause of his death was lacerations on his chest and heart and liver lacerations due to blunt force trauma injuries, the coroner said.

Valley Funeral Home said there are no services yet planned.

Project officials released a statement Tuesday saying the accident occurred while workers were adjusting a cable aligning temporary concrete towers that support the construction of twin arches for the bridge.

Work on the bypass project has been halted while an investigation is conducted by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and contractors Obayashi Corp., and PSM Construction USA Inc.

When completed in late 2010, the bridge will carry four lanes of U.S. Highway 93 traffic between Arizona and Nevada, bypassing a winding two-lane road across the landmark Hoover Dam. U.S. 93 is the main route between Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Although the massive bypass project has not had a death up until now, the original project to build Hoover Dam as the United States was trying to recover from the Great Depression in the 1930s killed 112 people during construction. The first worker who died on the dam drowned in the Colorado River. The last person to die was the man's son who fell off an intake tower.

The Federal Highway Administration released the following statement Tuesday: "The Federal Highway Administration extends its deepest sympathy to the family of the construction worker who suffered a fatal accident on the Hoover Dam bypass project site today. The FHWA will work closely with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Joint Venture contractor, Obayashi Corp. and PSM Construction USA, Inc., to determine the cause of the accident. The accident occurred during a routine operation to adjust a cable used to align the temporary concrete towers that support construction of the twin arches. In the interim, all related activities involving the area where the accident occurred are suspended until further notice."

Home News reporter Cassie Tomlin contributed to this report.

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