Construction firm cited in I-95 barrier collapse that killed 2 workers

'This tragedy could have been prevented,' federal official says


MIAMI – Federal officials said a construction company did not do enough to protect its workers before a concrete barrier collapsed and killed two men along Interstate 95 in February.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had ensured that adjoining structures were shored, braced or underpinned to avoid a collapse," said Condell Eastmond, with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Atlanta-based Archer Western Construction Inc. faces up to $33,000 in fines. OSHA officials also said the work site was not properly inspected for hazards.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Abel Orlando Zuniga-Fajardo, 37, and Osman Aldubin Montalvan-Ardon, 33, were in a trench repairing drainage pipes around 3 a.m. on Feb. 4 when one of the cement retaining walls fell on top of them. 

The construction site was in the middle of the highway just north of Northwest 62nd Street between the north and southbound express lanes.

Working with the construction company, the Miami Fire Rescue tactical rescue team had to use heavy equipment to prop up the wall so the victims could be moved.

Archer Western Construction could not be immediately reached for comment.