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Construction worker killed by beam on 405 Freeway identified

October 11, 2012 |  1:01 pm

A construction worker killed Thursday when a 3,000-pound steel beam fell and crushed him to death on the 405 Freeway was identified as Los Angeles resident Adolfo Figueroa, officials said.

“We were deeply saddened to learn that early this morning one of our employees, Adolfo Figueroa, died while performing work on the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project,” read a statement from Kiewit, the contractor tasked with completing the $1-billion project.

“Kiewit is conducting a thorough investigation into this matter and working closely with Cal-OSHA, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), and other state and local authorities, to determine the factors contributing to this tragic event,” the statement read.

Figueroa died about 2:30 a.m. Thursday when the beam fell on him while he was standing near trucks on the Santa Monica Boulevard off-ramp of the southbound 405, which had been closed and where large steel beams were being unloaded from the trucks, according to Sgt. Joe Zizi of the California Highway Patrol.

The overall project, which began construction in late 2009, includes widening a 10-mile stretch of the 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways to make room for a northbound carpool lane.

The project and the need to demolish and rebuild the Mulholland Drive bridge in order to widen the 405 was the reason officials conducted full freeway closures over two weekends -– what came to be known as Carmageddon -– in July of last year and again last month.

Metro officials offered their condolences to Figueroa’s family, co-workers and friends and said in a statement that currently “further work on the entire project has been stopped while the contractor does a thorough safety review.”

They also noted in the statement this was “the first serious incident on the I-405 project in nearly three years of work.” Caltrans officials also offered their condolences to the worker’s family and to the contractor’s team.

Zizi said the CHP will conduct a “general death investigation” into the accident and that the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) would also be looking into the incident.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

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