Official: the lane had to be out of service before 2 dead were killed

CAMDEN, NJ (AP) – Federal authorities say two construction workers struck and killed by a train earlier this month on a bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania were on a track believed to have been taken out of service for planned concreting works.

The National Transportation Safety Board said two contractor employees of JPC Group Inc. were struck by a Port Authority Transit Corporation train around 9:20 p.m. Oct. 14 on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Camden, New Jersey.

A safety board spokesman said there was a planned outage on the track at the time for concreting work. But she said ‘preliminary information indicates that at the time of the accident, Lane 2 had not been taken out of service when contractors entered the bridge into a tight clearance area.’

The PATCO train had 68 passengers on board and was traveling at 33mph, below the maximum permitted speed of 40mph for the track, she said. The safety office said it expects to have a preliminary report on the crash in about 45 days.

The workers were identified as members of the Cement Masons’ & Plasterers’ Union Local No. 592 in Philadelphia by the union, which said it was “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two of our brothers”. They were involved in a long-term bridge rehabilitation project announced in March 2020 which was to run until December 2024.

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