An operator was uninjured when a trackhoe fell into an hole unknown to workers in the early hours of Wednesday, June 21 at a construction site on the corner of Scott Troy Road and U.S. Highway 50 in O’Fallon, according to the site’s developer.
“We are grateful for the interest and concern by so many,” Dean Oelze, president of S.I. Strategy LLC and developer of the site, said in a statement. “Sometimes unforeseen things happen on construction sites. Everything is fine.”
Oelze said that the machine fell into an “unidentified, concrete-lined pit” as workers were doing site clearing at the Four Points Development, which is next to the McKendree Metro Rec Plex at 205 Rec Plex Drive.
The pit was at the site of the former Mississippi River Construction Co. building, Oelze said.
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“The pit was not identified on any plans of the former building,” Oelze said.
The excavator remained tumped on its side still Wednesday afternoon, with half of the machine in the hole and the bucket arm protruding into the air, as developers worked to find a means of extraction.
By 3:30 p.m. the excavator had been pulled out and is operational again.
Meanwhile, work will continue at the site.
“We look forward to continuing site preparation for two new businesses,” Oelze said.
Oelze said plans for the site included a Shell gas station and Farmers & Merchants Bank, though O’Fallon city officials said they could not confirm those businesses.
“We have not seen anything yet for a building permit, or anything along those lines, but we have heard that they are coming,” O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach said.
Ted Shekell, O’Fallon’s community development director, echoed the words of the mayor.
“We have heard what he’s proposing. He’s told us that, but we haven’t seen anything official, like applications or building permits yet. So there is some due process and public review that still is needed,” Shekell said.
Typically, the proposing business will submit an application. However, Shekell said, depending on the relationship structure between the business and the developer, that applications may come from the latter.
“First, an application needs to be submitted to the city. Then it goes before the city’s zoning board, then a public hearing for public review and comments before it reaches the city council, and they, ultimately have the final say,” Shekell said.