When you incentivize speed over safety, all you do is guarantee that tragedy comes quickly.
While negotiating their deal with contractor Kokosing, the state of Ohio included a provision that the contractor would face penalties of 3,000 dollars per fifteen minutes that the Hopple Interchange, one of the busiest in the country, was closed. Wanting to save themselves every dollar they could, Kokosing chose to expedite the process by demolishing one of the sides of the overpass before demolishing the middle.
Unfortunately, demolishing one side left the middle dangerously under-supported, causing a collapse that left one person dead and snarled traffic for hours and hours on January 19th, 2015. Kokosing has refused to comment on the issue, either to explain the contract provision that considered speed paramount or to explain whether they even consulted a structural engineer before the demolition.
There is no denying Kokosing’s negligence in this regard, but the state was also negligent when they negotiated speed over safety. Contacts like this should include provisions that:
- prioritize safety over everything else
- require a detailed plan for how emergencies will be handled
- require detailed engineering assessments from a disinterested third-party engineer before any demolition can occur
- hold contractors accountable for unsafe business practices
The experts are pretty much all in agreement that the unsafe demolition of the side of the overpass led directly to the terrifying collapse. There is nothing that can be done to bring back the life that was lost in this terrible accident. All that can be done is to hold businesses responsible when they make these kinds of deals. If you or a loved one have been injured due to negligence, please contact an attorney to help you hold the business to account.