Home / Commercial Construction / Crane collapse on Butte des Morts bridge kills worker (UPDATE)

Crane collapse on Butte des Morts bridge kills worker (UPDATE)

A crane collapsed on the Butte des Morts bridge Thursday in Winnebago County, killing one worker from Spancrete and injuring another. (AP Photo/Oshkosh Northwestern, Joe Sienkiewicz)

By Kirsten Klahn

A construction worker is dead and another seriously injured after a crane collapsed Thursday morning on the Butte des Morts Bridge in Winnebago County.

Winnebago County Coroner Barry Busby said the worker died at the scene and the crane operator was taken to a Fond du Lac hospital. Joseph R. Bidler, 35, of Green Bay, died when the crane collapsed around 9 a.m. He was employed by Spancrete Inc. for more than 11 years, according to a news release from Spancrete. The Waukesha-based company is performing subcontractor work for Lunda Construction Co., Black River Falls, on the Highway 41 project.

A second person operating the crane also was injured. Lunda employs that individual and the extent of his injuries is unknown, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

WisDOT spokesman Kris Schuller said the crane was trying to lift a beam on the Butte Des Morts Bridge when it collapsed.

According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, all lanes of traffic were reopened.

On April 20, another crane being used on the Highway 41 project collapsed in the De Pere area. Raymond Ashenbrenner, 58, of Black River Falls, was killed while unloading a crane in a work area in Brown County. He worked for Lunda, a subcontractor to Brownsville-based Michels Corp.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the cause of that accident. An agency official said its report might not be released until October.

Lunda is building the $54 million project for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Tim Brown, with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s Appleton office, confirmed Thursday an OSHA employee is on the scene investigating the accident. He declined further comment until OSHA has more information.


  1. George Hernandez

    I hope this isn’t the case of the low bidder getting these jobs…………using poor, sub standard equipment.

  2. Good companies using good equipment. Things happen. Every time you make a pick with a Crane there is always a certain amount of danger.

  3. Does anyone know who the manufacturer of the cranes were in these two accidents?

  4. I take offense when people say “things happen”. Tell that to this workers family. If all the proper precautions were taken and crane standard regulations followed this never would have happen.

  5. I think we should just wait to find out the cause of the accident. I think some things are preventable, but I also think some things are inevitable.

  6. Every time a crane makes a pick there are 100 different possibilities for an accident. From the rigging, to the footing that the crane has, to the manufacture of the crane. I am sure that the pick was within the opperating limits of the crane, it could have been operator error, a failure in the rigging, a shift in the footing of the crane. As a person who has survived a crane accident I will say again , everytime you pick with a crane there is inherent danger. you must be cognizant of what is going on at all time.

    Even if every regulation was followed, you still can have a failure. It is a tragedy that there was loss of life, but construction is a dangerous profession.

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