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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Repair plan reviewed in fall of slab fatal to family

Associated Press

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. – Officials in the city where a concrete slab fell from an overpass and killed a young family in a pickup below say they would’ve closed the roadway if they had known heavy work was being performed on the structure.

John Woodcock, chief engineer for Bonney Lake, told KING-TV the contractor, WHH Nisqually Federal Services, and its subcontractors told the city they would be performing work elsewhere on the site early this week.

If crews were going to be cutting or dismantling concrete slabs on the overpass, the city would have insisted on closing the road below, Woodcock said. The subcontractors included Staton Companies, American Concrete Cutting and Highmark Construction.

Mayor Neil Johnson issued a statement saying that according to a plan filed with the city, no demolition work was scheduled to occur Monday, when the accident happened. It killed Josh and Vanessa Ellis and their 8-month-old son, Hudson.

Johnson said the contract for the work expressly requires the contractor to protect traffic from falling concrete and debris.

“We are still looking into whether the demolition plan was followed,” he said. “The city performs regular inspections of work in progress, but is not continually on site and had no inspector present at the time of the accident.”

The work was part of a $1.7 million project to add lights and a sidewalk along Highway 410. The demolition plan called for the bridge to be cut into segments, with the sections removed by heavy machinery.

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