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405 closure: Worker fell 'significant distance' off steel beam

405 closure: Worker feel 'significant distance' from steel beam that gave way, Caltrans official says

A construction worker fell a "significant distance" early Wednesday when a 130-foot-long steel beam gave way on the 405 Freeway in Seal Beach, closing all lanes in both directions for most of the morning commute as crews worked to repair the damaged roadway, officials said.

As of about 7:30 a.m., all lanes had been reopened.

The entire 405 Freeway was closed at the time of the 2:45 a.m. incident, as it has been nightly for months as part of the extensive West County Connectors project. All freeway lanes typically reopen from the construction closure about 6 a.m. 

Traffic was diverted onto the northbound 605 Freeway as crews worked to clear the site, officials said.

One other worker was injured when the beam fell, David Richardson of California Department of Transportation told ABC7.

The beam, which officials said weighed 60,000 pounds, was part of an interchange crossing over the 405. When it rolled over and fell, it hit other beams on the way down on the southbound side of the freeway. No other injuries were reported.

The worker who fell off the beam was rushed to Long Beach Memorial Hospital in moderate condition with head and chest injuries, Richardson said.

The second worker was hit by a beam and also taken to Long Beach Memorial in moderate condition, CBS Los Angeles reported.

Since the heavy beam damaged the freeway, Richardson said crews have to patch the roadway up before they can reopen lanes to traffic, which was backed up significantly for the morning commute. The repairs require equipment on both sides of the freeway, which is why both sides have to be closed, Richardson added. 

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

7:46 a.m. PDT: This story was updated to reflect the freeway reopening.

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