A new overpass carrying Wilson Street in Brewer over on- and off-ramps to I-395 opened in July 2021. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The contractor that built the new I-395 overpass on Wilson Street in Brewer is facing a federal fine after two of its workers fell onto the highway last year when the wooden structure they were standing on collapsed.

Richmond-based contractor Wyman & Simpson is facing a $25,000 penalty from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for violations of four standards related to the removal of steel construction, guardrail systems, providing stairways or ladders for points of access and scaffolding specifications, according to federal inspection records.

Construction workers Garrett Mulligan and Darren Pelletier had been removing cross braces that were connected to an outer beam on the bridge that carries Wilson Street over on- and off-ramps to I-395 when they fell last October.

The beam suddenly twisted as the two removed it, causing the wooden platform on which they were standing to collapse. Pelletier and Mulligan fell about 20 feet onto the highway below. No cars were on the highway when they fell and they landed on the debris. Both Mulligan and Pelletier were taken to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where they were treated for their injuries.

Wyman & Simpson initially faced $43,690 in potential fines, but the company contested the penalties. OSHA later lowered penalty amounts related to four violations and removed one potential violation altogether. The company faces penalties of $6,250 each for the four remaining violations.

The violation that OSHA removed related to a requirement that the company conduct an engineering survey prior to demolition.

Wyman & Simpson has abated four of the five violations, according to OSHA, meaning it has taken steps to eliminate the hazards OSHA identified.

The Maine Department of Transportation had contracted Wyman & Simpson to replace the Wilson Street bridge, which opened in July. A department spokesperson referred questions regarding the OSHA fines to Wyman & Simpson. The company did not respond to three messages seeking comment.

Wyman & Simpson works on highway projects throughout Maine, according to its website.

OSHA oversees federal and private employers in Maine, while the Maine Department of Labor governs workplace safety for public-sector employers in Maine, like state and local governments.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.