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Crews working to lift dump truck following deadly Chief Joseph Highway accident

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Cody - How do you pull a 107,000 pound truck up the side of a cliff?  That’s the challenge for the highway construction company that lost a worker in an accident on the Chief Joseph Highway near Cody.

The company is also racing against time to beat the winter storms.

Huge dump trucks are rolling up and down the mountain on the Chief Joseph Highway non-stop.

Crews are working to beat winter storms like the one that trapped a snowplow driver overnight in December, 2016. 

WYDOT Spokesman  Cody Beers said, “They will continue to run seven days a week, 20 hours a day as long as it takes to get that fill built up to the roadway.”

They have to build a huge toe berm, to stop the highway from sliding off the mountain, as it did last spring, and the spring before.  All that is left now is the inside shoulder of a section about a hundred feet long.

Beers said they hope to finish by November 15. Meanwhile, Oftedal Construction has the added task of recovering a huge dump truck that ended upside down in Dead Indian Creek, after it hit another truck and went hundreds of feet down the mountainside.  26-year old Ronald Frankenberry of Cody died. 

Cody remarked, “There’s been an investigation by the State of Wyoming. There’s still things going on.”

Beers said representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, WYDOT, and Oftedal Construction will meet next week with specialists who know how to retrieve a 107,000 pound dump truck. 

He pointed out, “They do a lot of work involving train derailments. They’re very qualified for the work. Whether they do it exactly like everybody needs it to work in this environment, in this landscape, that’s the issue.”

Beers said the company may have to cut the truck into pieces to retrieve it.  OSHA investigated the accident, as well as the Wyoming Highway Patrol.  Park County Coroner Tim Power said the results of the victim’s blood tests are not back yet.

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