A mother, father and their infant son were killed Monday when a concrete wall fell from a state Route 410 overpass under renovation in Bonney Lake and crushed the truck’s cab.
The names of the couple in their 20s and the roughly 6-month-old baby were not released Monday, but police spokesman Todd Green said the family lived in the Bonney Lake area. Police traced the registration of the vehicle, but they didn’t expect the three victims to be officially identified before Tuesday.
It was not immediately known what caused the “very heavy” concrete structure to fall onto Angeline Road East, city spokesman Woody Edvalson said.
A construction crew had been working on a project to replace and extend a sidewalk on the overpass. The material that fell was part of the original overpass, which was built in 1992, Edvalson said.
East Pierce Fire & Rescue officials said the accident happened before 11 a.m. when the concrete structure and other materials fell off the overpass and landed on the pickup as it emerged from under the span.
Crews initially thought one person may have been in the vehicle, and worked to stabilize the construction site and clear the debris to determine if any other passengers were in the truck. It was shortly after 8 p.m. when police said they’d found a family of three had died.
Bonney Lake Public Works Director Dan Grigsby said crews were preparing to remove the outside wall of the overpass in order to replace it with an updated structure. The contractor’s demolition plan was reviewed and approved by the state, he said.
“The type of work that was going on shouldn’t have resulted in anything falling,” he said.
Work started about a month ago and is being completed by the contractor WHH Nisqually, which had crews on scene when the accident occurred. The small business is owned by the Nisqually Indian Tribe.
A WHH Nisqually employee said the company was directing questions to Bonney Lake officials.
Bonney Lake police, the state Department of Transportation and representatives of the contractor were investigating the accident. Angeline Road was closed for the investigation.
Lane closures were planned for Angeline Road during later phases of construction, said Edvalson, the city spokesman.
“It was not anticipated that closing the lanes would be advisable or necessary at this point,” he said.
State Transportation Department spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker said she asked around Monday and was unable to find an industry standard for closing lanes under bridge work.
Traffic control plans usually are outlined in contracts for construction work, she said.
The project is part of a larger effort by the city to improve pedestrian access along the highway. It will complete the missing link of sidewalks along state Route 410, Edvalson said.
A city newsletter in January said constructing that section of the sidewalk would be difficult, given its location on the overpass.
The city awarded the nearly $1.8 million contract to WHH Nisqually in December, according to documents. . City funds and state grant money are covering the cost, Grigsby said.
Project plans include rebuilding the northern side of the bridge, adding a sewer line, widening state Route 410 between the bridge and 192nd Avenue East and adding bases for future street lights along a “rather dark corridor,” the newsletter states.
Grigsby said it was not known Monday when project construction will continue. It originally was scheduled to end in May.
“There’s still a lot of work to do,” he said.