Construction worker dies at Taum Sauk

ST. LOUIS | A woman was killed Tuesday while working on a concrete placement as part of the rebuilding project at the Taum Sauk reservoir, which collapsed more than three years ago.

Ozark Constructors LLC said the 48-year-old worker was flown to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where she died. Her name has not been released.

Ozark Constructors had been working on the rebuilding project at the AmerenUE-owned reservoir in southeast Missouri. A breach on Dec. 14, 2005, sent a wall of water down a mountain into Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.

The company said it was making grief counselors available to employees and their families.

St. Louis-based AmerenUE said the safety of everyone at the site is the company's top concern.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and co-workers of the construction worker who died as a result of this morning's tragic accident at the Taum Sauk upper reservoir rebuild site,” the utility said in its written statement.

AmerenUE said ASI Constructors Inc., a business that specializes in dam construction, and St. Louis-based Fred Weber Inc., a construction company, were venture partners in Ozark Constructors LLC.

Ozark Constructors said it has put in more than 2 million hours of work at the site over 21 months. It declined to release additional information, pending an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

AmerenUE expects the rebuilt plant at Taum Sauk will begin generating power in the second quarter of 2010, said spokeswoman Susan Gallagher.