Worker on the Confusion Hill Bypass Severely Injured Today

Pier Two of the Confusion Hill Bypass

Today, a temporary structure on the third pier at Confusion Hill collapsed. The employee of MCM Construction, Inc. dropped 30 feet onto a lower deck below. He suffered terrible injuries and had to be taken by helicopter to receive medical attention. The accident happened midday during building of the new multi-million dollar complex designed to circumvent the slide that notoriously comes in each winter closing Highway 101 for weeks at a time.

Slide at Confusion Hill is the reason for building the Bypass

MCM has a History of Falsework Collapses

Unfortunately, this is not the first falsework that MCM Construction has had trouble with.

In fact, a suit was filed against the company for a death that resulted from an earlier failure in February 2003 on the Noyo bridge in Fort Bragg. Then, according to the Press Democrat, Julio Quintero, 38, of Fairfield and another employee were working on an iron support structure when it came apart, hurling Quintero 60 feet to his death and injuring the other man.

According to court documents,

MCM subcontracted with Pacific Coast Steel, Inc., to do the steel reinforcing of the bridge. The subcontract provided by the PCS was to furnish all labor and furnish and install all equipment, materials and supplies to complete the reinforcing steel cages for the vertical bridge columns.

Plaintiffs’ decedent was employed by PCS. MCM contends that
plaintiffs’ decedent was killed instantly when decedent’s PCS foreman,
Rex Kamoss, disconnected one of four guy wires which had been installed
to stabilize a column of steel rebar, while plaintiffs’ decedent was on
the column, killing him instantly. MCM asserts that no one
at MCM told Kamoss to disconnect any of the guy wires.

The Plantiff’s alleged

MCM was to provide all the equipment, hoisting and engineering, including the guy wires used to secure the columns. MCM’s guy wire plan was defective, which caused the incident. Plaintiffs assert defendant created the dangerous condition (twist) in the column, imposing a duty upon MCM to remedy the same. MCM negligently controlled PCS’ work, as it was responsible for providing equipment, including hoisting, for PCS activities on the column, and negligently failed to provide a crane when it was necessary to perform the work safely.



  • Oh. Kym! I am so sorry to hear this! I just drove by there a few days ago, and saw the thing – what an incredible structure it is! Kind of hollow and floating in the air midway across the gorge. Absolutely awesome, it’s hard to imagine how it’s even possible, incredible stuff. I hope the guy is ok – heals up – I don’t know what to say.

  • What a terrible thing to happen. I do hope the worker will recover quickly and completely heal from his injuries.

  • Who was it? I have a friend working there. I wish speedy recovery.

  • I try not to look at the unfinished bridge when I drive by it. It just does not look like it could possibly hold traffic. As Rose said, it appears to just be floating in air. I know it is not completed and will be just fine when it opens, but you know how I am crossing any of the Bay area bridges and watching this one being constructed has only heightened my dislike of traveling over very high bridges. Is there any chance the old highway will still be open for traffic once the bridge is completed?
    Hopefully, there will be good news about the construction worker soon.

  • The old highway will be closed. Too much money to keep it open. Maybe a trail.

  • MCM Construction to pay $6 million settlement in banned, outdated vehicle use lawsuit.
    Sacramento, CA: (May-23-08) California Attorney General Jerry Brown brought a lawsuit against MCM Construction, a bridge building firm, alleging that the company used banned portable diesel engines on state-funded projects. The suit claimed that the company failed to get the required permits for its operations and stated that some of the company’s machines were so outdated, that they predated the current air pollution regulations. MCM Construction was also accused of damaging critical salmon spawning habitat while working at the Van Duzen River in Humboldt County. The suit, filed in Mendocino County, stated that local air quality agents found MCM operating diesel engines without the necessary permits.

    As part of a settlement reached, the two sides resolved the dispute by entering into a settlement agreement, in which MCM Construction agreed to a $6 million payout with the California Attorney General. The deal stipulated that MCM pay $4 million in civil penalties, which will be split among state and local agencies. Another $2 million will be spent to upgrade its equipment and adopt an internal environmental auditing process.

  • I’m trying to get more information and plan to update as soon as possible.


  • Pingback: Confusion Hill Foreman Expected to Fully Recover « REDHEADED BLACKBELT and Other Strange Connections

  • Magdalena, if I’ve missed anything please feel free to add what you know. That is what a blog is–a community working together to gather info.

  • Kym the picture of the slide you have were did you get it ? i was standing were the bump sign is when that slide came down, it was pretty awesome to see…I’m glad that cal-trans workers won’t have to work under that slide any more after the bridge’s are complete cal-trans has been real lucky no one has been seriously hurt or killed working under that slide…keep up the good reporting your doing a awesome job. ( thank you )

  • Rory, I’ll bet you ran like heck…Those are some photos taken by Caltrans personnel that they shared with me. If you want to snag it for personal reasons, go ahead. Right click, save image as…, and put it on your computer.

    Thanks for the encouraging words.

  • thank you Kym i will.

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