The family of a construction worker who died after a girder on the new twin spans fell into Lake Pontchartrain filed a lawsuit Friday against the company that manufactured the concrete beam, alleging it was flawed.

The flaws in the girder, made by Gulf Coast Pre-Stress of Pass Christian, Miss., were known to both the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and a company responsible for inspecting and overseeing construction of the $800 million bridge, according to the suit.

Eric Blackmon, 44, and nine other workers were plunged 30 feet into the lake when the girder rotated off its piling in October. Blackmon drowned in the accident and several of the other workers were injured.

Concrete girders are typically designed with holes that can be used to secure them to the pilings, according to the suit. However, the suit alleges the holes in the girders used on the twin spans project did not line up properly with inserts used to secure the beam.

As a result, workers had to drill new holes in the beams, according to the suit.

These design flaws led to the girder’s collapse, the suit says.

In addition to Gulf Coast Pre-Stress, the transportation department and Volkert and Associates are named as defendants in the suit. The filing alleges they knew about the flaws and did not take appropriate steps to correct the problem or prevent accidents.

The suit is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

Disclosure: The family of Eric Blackmon is represented in this lawsuit by Beasley Allen Law Firm.



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