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One dead, two seriously injured in Newton County bridge collapse
Victims were demolishing bridge over Yellow River as part of replacement project when collapse occurred
Bridge collapse
Workers set up a crane this morning, Oct. 20, to remove equipment that fell into the Yellow River after the collapse of the Access Road bridge as it was being taken apart by a subcontractor Tuesday night. One person was killed and two seriously injured. - photo by Courtesy of the Newton County Sheriff's Office

COVINGTON, Ga. — One worker died and two others were seriously injured Tuesday night when the Access Road bridge collapsed as they worked to remove part of it for a replacement project.

B&D Concrete Cutting Inc., subcontractors for Georgia Bridge and Concrete, were beginning sawing and demolition activities on the first of four bridge spans on the structure near I-20's Exit 88 when the incident occurred about 5:30 p.m., said sheriff's office spokesperson Caitlin Jett.

The victim and two others fell into the Yellow River and were submerged, Jett said.

They were rescued and received medical attention but one died and the other two were seriously injured, she said.

No other information on the dead or injured workers was immediately available.

Jett said a 500-ton crane was on the way Tuesday night to recover equipment. The crane is set to arrive before midnight and set up inside the active work zone, which is already closed to the public, she said. 

"Work will continue overnight until complete tomorrow," she said. 

The right lane on I-20 eastbound from Exit 88 had reopened by about 9 p.m. after being closed in response to the incident. 

Tucker-based Georgia Bridge and Concrete is building the $3.065 million project, and said it would need a 270-day — about nine months — closure to complete the new bridge, a GDOT spokesman said. 

Through traffic on Access Road was already being detoured onto I-20 and other routes during construction, GDOT announced in a news release.

Reconstruction work began approximately 550 feet west of the existing bridge and extends east 550 feet for about a quarter of a mile. 

As proposed, the 320-foot long by 43-foot wide bridge is to include two walls along the approaches south of the road to minimize impacts to a river pump station and nearby mobile home community.

Access Road is a major east-west route between downtown Covington and western Newton County and Conyers — carrying more than 9,000 vehicles per day. 

The existing bridge, built in 1937, was classified as "structurally deficient" and must be replaced, the release stated.

A bridge is classified as “structurally deficient” if either the deck, superstructure, substructure or culvert are rated as being in poor or worse condition, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is available.