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UPDATED: One worker killed, another injured during Bong Bridge reconstruction

Duluth News Tribune photo

Superior Telegram and Duluth News Tribune

A worker involved in the reconstruction project on the Bong Bridge linking Duluth and Superior died Monday morning in an incident involving a forklift, the Minnesota State Patrol reported.

Another worker was injured in the incident just after 7 a.m., the Patrol said. The westbound lanes were closed for about two hours Monday morning to accommodate emergency personnel. Painting crews resumed work after the incident, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which is overseeing the project.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the incident occurred on the bridge and didn’t involved a fall.

Both workers were employees of Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, Wis., the prime contractor working on the two-year rehabilitation project. The incident happened in the Superior-bound lanes, which have been closed to traffic for months as workers continue work on the span.

"We want to extend our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of those involved in this tragic accident this morning," said Jerry Mentzel, Northwest Region director for Wisconsin Department of Transportation. "The state’s top priority is keeping construction projects safe for workers, the community and the traveling public. We will work with other agencies to review safety procedures and make sure all safety guidelines are followed."

The name of the worker who died is being withheld pending an autopsy and notification of family members. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating.

The Bong Bridge, which carries U.S. Highway 2 across the St. Louis River, is in the second year of a $18 million reconstruction project. It is scheduled for completion by Nov. 1.