FRANKFORT, Ky. - When a 40-foot sinkhole opened up in the floor of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green on Feb. 12, the incident grabbed headlines across the nation. Now, as part of the rebuilding process, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet has signed a Construction Partnership Program agreement with the museum’s construction company, Scott, Murphy & Daniel LLC (SMD), to ensure and enhance worker safety during the extremely complex project.
“We’re proud to work with Scott, Murphy & Daniel Construction at the National Corvette Museum,” said Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry L. Roberts. “When you see pictures of the sinkhole in the news, you realize there are unique challenges to the workers who are part of this rebuilding process. The Labor Cabinet is glad to help ensure all safety procedures are followed and the project is completed as safely as possible.”
The construction will require fall protection, trenching and excavation safety measures, as well as proper procedures involving heavy equipment such as cranes – all inside an existing structure. The unique worksite will involve as many as 20 people working in close proximity at one time, which prompted Scott, Murphy & Daniel Construction to request this partnership with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet.
“SMD greatly appreciates the support and partnership of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Division of Education and Training in our efforts to help the National Corvette Museum recover from this very unusual misfortune,” said G. Michael Murphy, CEO of Scott, Murphy & Daniel. “We look forward to our team of professionals helping to safely and securely bring one of Kentucky’s greatest tourist attractions back to being as good as new.”
The museum will continue normal operation during the construction. The Skydome, where the collapse happened, is a separate building attached to the main museum. Tours will be able to bypass the area safely, but guests will be able to see the sinkhole site from a special viewing window.
The National Corvette Museum hopes the construction can be completed by this August, in time for the museum’s 20th anniversary celebration. Thousands of Corvette enthusiasts from all over the world plan to attend the three-day event.
“2014 will be a year worth celebrating, as we will have more than 10,000 friends caravanning cross country to visit their second home, the Home of America’s Sports Car,” said National Corvette Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode. “In addition to our anniversary festivities, we will be celebrating the grand opening of our Motorsports Park just across the interstate from the museum. Those two milestones, along with the re-opening of our Skydome exhibit area, will make August a special time in Kentucky’s and Corvette’s history.”
Engineers, geologists and emergency officials are also involved in the project. Faculty and students with Western Kentucky University’s Engineering department as well as the Geography and Geology department are assisting with the evaluation of the ground surrounding the worksite. Their goal is to make sure there are no further collapses and the renovation is on a solid and safe foundation. The Bowling Green Fire Department is also playing a vital role in safety measures, with contingency plans in place in the event of any possible rescue operations involving workers during the construction.
As part of the Construction Partnership Program, workplace safety experts with the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health will make frequent visits to the site. Visits begin with an on-site conference of employees and subcontractors, followed by a walk-through inspection to identify hazards.
All findings are discussed in a closing conference, followed within days by a detailed presentation of any hazards. In addition, abatement dates are set for deficiencies that have not already been corrected, and written reports will be prepared for Murphy, Scott & Daniel Construction.
Companies wishing to participate in the program can find out more by clicking the link.