Work to resume on Downtown building after worker killed in partial collapse

Work to resume on Downtown building after worker killed in partial collapse
A building under construction at 4th and Race Streets partially collapsed last week when recently poured concrete became too heavy and caused the roof to collapse on top of four workers and trapping and killing a fifth. (Source: FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Work on a mixed-use development in downtown Cincinnati is set to resume Tuesday, eight days after a portion of the building collapsed. trapping and killing one worker and injuring four others.

The project at Fourth and Race streets – a partnership between Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) and Indianapolis-based developer Flaherty & Collins Properties – will consist of a 584-space above-grade parking garage, 22,000 square feet of street-level commercial space, and a 264-unit apartment building, beginning at Level 7, 3CDC said in a news release.

3CDC is the developer for the commercial space and the garage, which was topped out last month, while Flaherty & Collins is developing the apartments. Turner Construction serves as the General Contractor for the entire project.

The worker killed, Preston Todd Delph, 58, of Hebron, was laid to rest in services Monday. His body was found after a 30-hour search of digging through hardened concrete.

Meanwhile, Turner has turned to Thornton Tomasetti, a structural engineering consulting firm, to evaluate the current site for stability, according to the release.

After conducting a thorough review, Thornton Tomasetti designated Levels 1 – 5, as well as the eastern portions of Levels 6 and 7 (the areas of those floors unrelated to the collapse) safe to resume activities, the release states.

The city of Cincinnati’s Department of Buildings & Inspections has authorized work to continue on the eastern portion of the building, according to 3CDC. Work on the western portion of the site will remain focused on stabilization related to the collapse.

Crews will place barricades on the western portion of Levels 6 and 7, separating the area of the partial collapse from the area where it is safe for work to restart.

Once that occurs, work can occur on the eastern portion of the structure on those floors, including prep work for pouring Level 8 and above.

Additionally, crews will be permitted to pour four columns that will support Level 8, but no other concrete can be poured on the site until both the Dept. of Buildings and Inspections and an independent third-party have signed off on a new shoring plan, according to the news release.

In the meantime, a separate crew will continue to work to safely demolish the remaining damaged areas on the western portion of Levels 6 and 7, under Thornton Tomasetti’s direction.

Fourth Street, which had been closed since the partial collapse occurred, re-opened to vehicular traffic Monday.

Project partners are still working to determine the cause of the partial collapse, the release states.

Federal workplace officials also are investigating.

We checked in with the Cincinnati office of the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration for an update Tuesday.

We were immediately referred to a spokesman in Chicago, Ill., who told us it’s too soon to say if work at the time of the collapse complied with all federal rules.

“The OSHA compliance office is continuing their investigation. They are continuing their interviews with any potential witnesses, other employees of the construction firms as well as the employers as they try to determine if all OSHA standards and regulations were being followed during this particular construction phase,” said the spokesman, Scott Allen.

He said OSHA has up to six months by law to complete their investigation: “There is no saying how long it will take to complete it.”

A final report will eventually be available to the public, he added.

No new timetable has been set for the completion of the project, which will be finished in phases, starting with the garage, followed by the commercial space and ending with the apartment units, according to 3CDC.

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