NEW ORLEANS — Dive crews are searching Lake Pontchartrain for a worker who fell in after a construction accident on the new Twin Span Bridge, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Seven workers fell into the lake, and all but one has been rescued. The accident happened around 12:30 p.m. on a portion of the new bridge about three miles from the St. Tammany Parish side of the lake.

A witness to the accident said a piece of building material fell during installation. Louisiana State Police tell WDSU that the missing worker was attached to the portion of the bridge that fell into the water.

The Twin Span project broke ground in July of 2006 and is scheduled for completion in 2011. However, the westbound span — from Slidell to New Orleans — is set to open to traffic in mid-to-late 2009.

The $800 million project is funded by the federal government. When complete, the new spans will each carry three lanes of traffic on a 5.5 mile journey across the lake.

The old Twin Span, which has been in use since the 1960s and sustained major damage during Hurricane Katrina, will be dismantled.

 

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