Sudbury·Updated

Elgin St. construction zone fatal: city staff on site when woman died

A construction safety expert in Sudbury says she was worried for weeks about the safety of a downtown construction zone

Sudbury construction safety expert says she regrets not complaining about the state of the Elgin St. site

A pedestrian, 58, was struck and killed by this piece of construction equipment on Elgin Street in Sudbury Wednesday afternoon. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

Three city employees were at a construction site on Elgin Street in downtown Sudbury on Wednesday when a 58-year-old woman was crushed by a grader.

Greater Sudbury's interim chief administrative officer Kevin Fowke told CBC News the staff were there to meet with the contractor Interpaving about some concerns with the months-old project.

 "They're there from a quality perspective, but they're also there, as all of us would be, if we see something that negatively impacts health and safety," said Fowke.

He reiterated that city contractors are responsible to keep their work sites safe and that city staff can't take over the site if they see something wrong, but regularly raise those questions with the company.

Kevin Fowke is the city of Sudbury's interim chief administrative officer. (Markus Schwabe CBC)

"We're not running over there to monitor the work on a day to day basis," Fowke said.

As for the specifics of what lead to the woman's death, Fowke would only say the city eagerly awaits the results of the investigation.

"Our antenna is definitely up and we want to follow through, once we have all the information," he said. 

But a construction safety expert in Sudbury says she was worried for weeks about the safety of a downtown construction zone.

Dillon Daveikis is speaking out following the horrific death of a woman who was struck by construction equipment on Elgin Street Wednesday.

Daveikis doesn't believe the city and the construction company it was paying did enough to ensure the safety of the area, she told CBC News. There was a lack of signage on the site and markings that weren't clear, she noted.

"Every time I drove through, I thought to myself, 'how shoddy. And where is the oversight? Where is the enforcement?'"

Interpaving is the construction company doing the work, and the company won't comment on the story.

Construction is on hold while the Ministry of Labour investigates the fatality.

Dillon Daveikis, a supervisor of Double T Traffic Control in Sudbury, sets up safe work zones on streets and highways in the area. She says she uses the Occupational Health and Safety Act on traffic control and sets up according to their standards, and also goes by the Ontario Traffic Manual book 7. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

Daveikis — whose company, Double T Traffic Control, oversees safety at other construction sites — said she's complained to the city about other construction sites before, but was ignored.

She regrets not complaining about the site on Elgin Street.

"I could have rang the alarm bell. And it pains me. And I cried today thinking perhaps, had I said something, that lady would still be alive," she said.

"I don't need to hear about any other people dying on our city streets."

Meanwhile traffic detours remain in place. Elgin Street is closed between Elm Street and Ste. Anne Road. The Elgin and Beech Street intersection also remains closed.

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