Worker dies after accident on Henley Bridge project

Worker dies after accident on Henley Bridge project

Posted: Updated:
Police questioned workers at the scene. Police questioned workers at the scene.

By JAMIE LYNN DROHAN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A worker died Tuesday morning after an accident on the Henley Bridge project in downtown Knoxville.

John Womac, 33, of Athens, worked for Britton Bridge, LLC. He was declared dead at UT Medical Center.

The accident happened at 8:30 a.m. and officials say Womac was working near a track hoe when he was injured. They have not released any other details about what happened.

Police detained at least three workers who saw the accident for questioning.

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Department will do the official investigation.

Henley Bridge Project

Construction on the south end of the bridge was halted for the investigation. The construction on the north end continued.

Britton Bridge released this statement Tuesday:

"We at Britton Bridge, LLC are mourning the loss of our friend, employee and family member. John Womac was more than a foreman and leader with our company, he was a son, husband and father and we are praying for his family as we all learn to cope with this sudden loss. John was with our company for more than six years starting his career as a carpenter and worked on five projects with us. As we move forward with the Henley project we will pay tribute to John remembering his professionalism, commitment and charming personality."

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer released this statement:

"I am extremely saddened by the loss of Mr. John Womac, an employee of Britton Bridge, LLC. On behalf of myself and everyone at the Tennessee Department of Transportation, I extend sincere condolences to Mr. Womac's family, fellow workers and friends."

State documents show Britton Bridge has been cited in the past. In 2002, the company received two violations classified as serious.

The first says a competent person was not designated to inspect all equipment prior to use and during use to make sure it was safe.

The same day, Britton Bridge was also cited for having two mobile cranes on barges that were not properly secured.

Each violation resulted in a $350 fine.

Inspectors found that the Henley Bridge is structurally deficient. Only the main arches and piers from the original structure can be salvaged. The state Department of Transportation is replacing all the other parts of the bridge.

Officials say TOSHA is conducting the investigation into the incident.

The project is estimated to be completed by June 30, 2013.

A labor foreman worker was killed in October 1930 during construction of the bridge when an iron boom fell on him and crushed him instantly.

The Henley Bridge was dedicated in January 1932.

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