Monday, November 10, 2003

Workers Sensed Danger Before Collapse of Parking Garage

This is chilling:
ATLANTIC CITY, Nov. 7 — They are construction workers, not engineers or safety experts. But George Tolson, Norman Williams and John Pietrosante Jr. found themselves focusing on a common thought: something unsafe or at least unsettling was going on as they rushed to complete a $245 million expansion of the Tropicana Casino and Resort.

The job had gotten off to a slow start, given bad weather last winter. As the April 2004 deadline approached to complete the new 502-room hotel, a 10-story, 2,400-space parking garage and a sprawling retail and entertainment complex called the Quarter, each could feel the pressure building to quicken the pace. But not just the pace of work disturbed them.

Mr. Tolson and Mr. Williams, laborers who helped install so-called pole shores — metal pogo-sticklike devices that temporarily hold up the concrete floors until they harden enough to support themselves — could see that half a dozen or so of these poles had somehow been bent out of shape. The implication was unmistakable: the floors, even if just so slightly, were moving.

"The concrete was too green," Mr. Tolson, 60, said he told his foreman, using slang to describe concrete that has not fully hardened. Mr. Williams, 49, recalled thinking: " `There is too much weight on those shores.' "

Mr. Pietrosante, 25, saw a similarly disturbing condition: cracks in the concrete floors and columns he was helping to build, at an unusually rapid pace. "Usually you pour one floor of concrete every three weeks, but we were being pushed to do a floor a week," he said. "This job was rush, rush, rush."
Hmm. "an unusually rapid pace," "rush, rush, rush." Maybe this is that "productivity" they've all been talking about (see below.)