By ASHLEY HELMS
Barry Avenue and Boston Post Road was the site of more than just construction and road closures when a construction coordinator hired to inspect the job was knocked into a trench by an excavator operated by a WJL Equities employee.
The incident caused work to cease at the site for about a week, but it resumed on Aug. 29.
David Aubry, a retired Westchester County Department of Public Works and Transportation worker, was hired independently by the village to coordinate the area’s construction work flow. Aubry was going over the job site at 11:00 p.m. on Aug. 21 when he was struck by a piece of heavy machinery and fell eight feet into a hole. The worker hit some materials on the way down, resulting in a slash to the head, according to Mamaroneck Village Manager Richard Slingerland. Aubry was taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries, and was released the next day.
The project will look to extend the existing stormwater sewer main from Barry Avenue to the bridge over Guion Creek and will rebuild or replace a number of collapsed catch basins along the section of Boston Post Road that spans the village.
Construction began on July 15, according to Slingerland, but the project was delayed because of rock deposits that needed to be excavated to make way for a drainage pipe. Night construction with lane closures started up again on Aug. 9.
WJL Equities was contracted by the village to finish the construction, originally for $621,000, but, with change work orders for rock excavation and additional work, Slingerland said the contract will be up to about $800,000 with the final amount pending for the completion of the project.
“An accident review said that [Aubry] was wearing safety equipment, but he was moving within the site to inspect the trench,” Slingerland said. “[Aubry] didn’t have the full attention of the operator. He was kind of in a blind spot.”
A stop work order was issued on Aug. 22 by the state DOT as it conducted an inspection of the project’s construction procedures.
Mamaroneck’s section of Boston Post Road is owned by the state, not the Village of Mamaroneck.
Trustee Louis Santoro, a Republican, said that he was unsure if there will be any litigation between the involved parties, but that Slingerland attended a meeting at the DOT headquarters to settle the stop work order.
“Rich went up to Poughkeepsie and so did someone from the construction company,” Santoro said. “They had a hearing that transpired and got back to working.”
According to Slingerland, now that the stop work order is lifted, an additional inspector will be hired as a spotter to make sure that equipment operators and ground workers will be aware of all surroundings so that similar accidents won’t happen in the future.
“They required us to do a full review of the incident and that was the main outcome of the review,” Slingerland said.
The project was delayed for a week, and the village manager said that work may be conducted in double shifts through Sept. 6 before strictly night work resumes. The project was intended to be completed through night construction shifts as to not interfere with daytime traffic and comply with DOT regulations. The goal was to be done with the project before schools were back in session on Sept. 10, which is why multiple work shifts may be conducted to help speed up the project and make up for lost time.
“There are 30 to 35 or 40 catch basins we have to replace on Boston Post Road,” Slingerland said.
“That’s something the DOT and the village have been coordinating on for many years and we are trying to resolve that.”
Aubry and representatives from WJL Equities declined to comment on the incident.