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(UPDATE 2) 2 Construction Workers Killed As Girder Falls on Highway in Shizuoka
15:50 JST, July 6, 2023
SHIZUOKA — Two workers were killed and six others injured when a beam for an elevated highway fell down early Thursday morning in Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka.
Two men aged 53 and 51 died in the accident at a construction site on National Highway Route 1’s Seishin Bypass, the Shizuoka prefectural police said.
According to the police and the transport ministry’s Shizuoka National Highway Office, a passerby made an emergency call at around 3:10 a.m., saying that a steel frame appeared to have fallen down and they had heard a loud noise.
The steel girder was 60 meters long, 2.5 meters wide, and weighed about 140 tons. It is believed to have fallen from a height of about 9 meters.
Construction work to elevate the highway was underway at the site, and the girder — which was placed near the center of the substructure — fell while being moved to the side with a jack. Traffic has been restricted below the construction site, and the westbound line on the highway was closed to ordinary vehicles.
The site is about 2.3 kilometers north of JR Shimizu Station. At the time of the incident, about 20 workers were working overnight with about 10 security guards also near the site.
Osaka-based shipbuilder Namura Shipbuilding Co. and Tokyo-based metal products maker JST Co. said they had been contracted to do the construction as a joint venture.
The Seishin Bypass is a trunk road near Shimizu Port as well as the Tomei and Shin-Tomei expressways. According to the Shizuoka highway office, construction began in 2016 to elevate a 2.4-kilometer stretch between Yokosuna-Higashicho and Yasaka-Nishicho in Shimizu Ward to ease traffic congestion. Part of the road was scheduled to open around spring 2026.
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