CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Federal authorities say two construction workers struck and killed by a train earlier this month on a bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania were on a track that was supposed to have been taken out of service for planned concrete work.
The National Transportation Safety Board said two contractor employees from JPC Group Inc. were hit by a westbound Port Authority Transit Corporation train at about 9:20 p.m. Oct. 14 on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Camden, New Jersey.
A safety board spokesperson said there was a planned outage on on the track at the time for concrete work. But she said “preliminary information indicates that at the time of the accident, track 2 had not been taken out of service when the contractors entered the bridge in a close clearance area.”
The PATCO train had 68 passengers aboard and was traveling at 33 mph, below the maximum authorized speed of 40 mph for the track, she said. The safety board said it expects to have a preliminary report on the accident in about 45 days.
The workers were identified as members of the Cement Masons’ & Plasterers’ Union Local No. 592 in Philadelphia by the union, which said it was “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two of our brothers.” They were involved in a long-term bridge rehabilitation project announced in March 2020 and are due to continue through December 2024.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating. JPC Group Inc.is a subcontractor for GC Skanska Koch Inc. of Carteret, N.J., which said it is conducting an internal investigation.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families during this time,” the company said in a statement.