News

Worker falls through rail-overpass decking onto Oregon Expressway

Man hospitalized for serious injuries after 1 a.m. incident that shut down the roadway for several hours

A Caltrain contractor was hospitalized for serious injuries after he fell through wood decking on a walkway next to a rail bridge and landed onto Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto on Thursday morning, a Caltrain spokesperson said.

Police blocked a section of Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto where a Caltrain contractor fell through wood decking on Aug. 25, 2022. Courtesy Caltrain.

The man fell approximately 25 feet below the overpass, which crosses over Oregon Expressway near the California Avenue Caltrain station. The incident occurred just after 1 a.m. The worker is employed by Modern Railway Systems, a subcontractor for Balfour Beatty, the company in charge of Caltrain's maintenance work, Caltrain spokesperson Dan Lieberman said.

The worker suffered serious injuries, but he is in stable condition and is currently being treated at Stanford Medical Center. Caltrain is investigating the fall and single-tracked its trains in the area while it investigated the incident and checked the tracks for safety, Lieberman said. In addition, "all appropriate oversight bodies have been informed," he said.

"Caltrain's frontline employees and contract partners are the foundation of our system," the agency said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the injured individual and their family at this time as they deal with this difficult situation. Safety is always our top priority at Caltrain and we are working diligently to address today's incident."

Palo Alto police blocked a section of Oregon Expressway at Bryant Street until about 12:40 p.m., police said. They described the matter as noncriminal.

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Westbound Oregon Expressway was closed at Bryant, as well as the northbound and southbound ramps from Alma Street to westbound Oregon, the department said on Twitter. People were warned to expect delays during the morning commute. The public had access to eastbound Oregon Expressway during the closure.

Police closed Oregon Expressway at Bryant Street, as well as two ramps from Alma Street to Oregon, for several hours after a Caltrain worker fell in the area on Aug. 25, 2022. Map by Jamey Padojino.

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Worker falls through rail-overpass decking onto Oregon Expressway

Man hospitalized for serious injuries after 1 a.m. incident that shut down the roadway for several hours

by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Aug 25, 2022, 8:27 am
Updated: Thu, Aug 25, 2022, 4:42 pm

A Caltrain contractor was hospitalized for serious injuries after he fell through wood decking on a walkway next to a rail bridge and landed onto Oregon Expressway in Palo Alto on Thursday morning, a Caltrain spokesperson said.

The man fell approximately 25 feet below the overpass, which crosses over Oregon Expressway near the California Avenue Caltrain station. The incident occurred just after 1 a.m. The worker is employed by Modern Railway Systems, a subcontractor for Balfour Beatty, the company in charge of Caltrain's maintenance work, Caltrain spokesperson Dan Lieberman said.

The worker suffered serious injuries, but he is in stable condition and is currently being treated at Stanford Medical Center. Caltrain is investigating the fall and single-tracked its trains in the area while it investigated the incident and checked the tracks for safety, Lieberman said. In addition, "all appropriate oversight bodies have been informed," he said.

"Caltrain's frontline employees and contract partners are the foundation of our system," the agency said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with the injured individual and their family at this time as they deal with this difficult situation. Safety is always our top priority at Caltrain and we are working diligently to address today's incident."

Palo Alto police blocked a section of Oregon Expressway at Bryant Street until about 12:40 p.m., police said. They described the matter as noncriminal.

Westbound Oregon Expressway was closed at Bryant, as well as the northbound and southbound ramps from Alma Street to westbound Oregon, the department said on Twitter. People were warned to expect delays during the morning commute. The public had access to eastbound Oregon Expressway during the closure.

Comments

Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 25, 2022 at 10:42 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 10:42 am

What is a "noncriminal" investigation?


Lynne Henderson
Registered user
Mountain View
on Aug 25, 2022 at 2:27 pm
Lynne Henderson, Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 2:27 pm

The closure of Oregon/Page Mill created a horrible traffic mess this morning just as I was trying to get to Stanford for necessary medical treatment--couldn't get on El Camino because the ramp was closed and Alma was a mess (and no traffic control). Thanks a lot, Palo Alto PD.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Aug 25, 2022 at 4:35 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 4:35 pm

A "noncriminal" police investigation? No criminal activity. I think it's civil.


felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2022 at 5:04 pm
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 5:04 pm

This is horrible! The 2nd worker in 24 hrs to be killed or seriously injured at night in our City.

I am so sorry for them and their families. Worker safety seems to have failed.

Slowed traffic is nothing in comparison to these tragedies.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 25, 2022 at 5:33 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 5:33 pm

I understand that "noncriminal activity" means "no criminal activity" but what kind of "civil" issue could warrant such a long closure? Was the road damaged or someone having a medical emergency? Was the road melting in the heat?


chris
Registered user
University South
on Aug 25, 2022 at 5:51 pm
chris, University South
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 5:51 pm

Palo Alto seems to have a lot of unsafe workplaces/practices. With the California budget surplus, it is time to ramp up workplace inspections.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2022 at 6:11 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 6:11 pm

Yes three major accidents, two resulting in death. Thankful this one did not take another life.

Substation death a year and half ago or so, downtown high rise yesterday, and now this. Really terrible. In an increasingly Ai Universe, I am worried that there is not enough attention paid to real people doing really dangerous jobs without enough quality onsite controls for our workers who risk everything to put food on the table in an extremely fast pace, highest cost of living area. Prayers for our skilled labor workforce out there. Prayers for this seriously injured person and family !!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 25, 2022 at 6:24 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 6:24 pm

Please clarify because I'm missing something. How did the worker's injury and death on University relate to closing blocks of Oregon Expressway>


WilliamR
Registered user
another community
on Aug 25, 2022 at 6:42 pm
WilliamR, another community
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 6:42 pm

@ online name--

There were 2 separate accidents, one with the man on top of the highrise downtown, and one with a worker near the Caltrain tracks over Oregon Expressway.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 25, 2022 at 9:16 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2022 at 9:16 pm

@WilliamR, thank you.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2022 at 1:51 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2022 at 1:51 am

Calling this a noncriminal investigation made it sound something more routine or trivial.

I think a better description would have been a noncriminal emergency. This was not an investigation that was anything trivial or routine, but definitely an emergency situation. People were wondering if this investigation could have been done at another time and not in the middle of the morning commute. No, it was an emergency situation. Yes people were disrupted on their way to work, school, medical appointments, etc. etc. Emergencies do that.

Police are not going to close a major thoroughfare in commute times for anything other than an emergency.

Thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to the injured worker.


Lynne Henderson
Registered user
Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2022 at 7:29 am
Lynne Henderson, Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2022 at 7:29 am

I agree with Bystander--why didn't they just say noncriminal emergency, medical emergency, injured person? I would have understood the reason and wouldn't have posted my complaint about traffic yesterday
May it go well for the worker who was injured. . ..


Paly Mom
Registered user
Midtown
on Aug 26, 2022 at 10:59 am
Paly Mom , Midtown
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2022 at 10:59 am

Many of us missed doctor appointments and meetings that easily could have been avoided if an alert was sent out earlier. The email arrived after we were stuck in traffic and we could have planned an alternative route had we known earlier.


Brian
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Aug 26, 2022 at 11:03 am
Brian, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2022 at 11:03 am

I am still confused! Why was Oregon Expressway (west) closed for 4+ hours? The closure was apparently 8 hours AFTER the worker fell through the tracks and was taken to the hospital. Was it related to that incident or was it closed for some other "non criminal investigation"? Why won't the police say what the investigation was about?


Harvey Long
Registered user
Professorville
on Aug 27, 2022 at 7:52 am
Harvey Long, Professorville
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2022 at 7:52 am

"Why won't the police say what the investigation was about?"

^ Because dissemination of police investigations are released on 'a need to know basis' and perhaps it wasn't warranted.

Just guessing.


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