A beautiful summer afternoon turned into quite the headache for drivers who rely on the Tappan Zee Bridge to travel between Westchester and Rockland counties. A crane being used in the construction of the new bridge collapsed across the lanes of the current bridge just a few hours after the morning rush had ended. The investigation is currently looking into the cause of the industrial accident. With strong winds ruled out, the focus shifts to a mechanical malfunction or operator error.
The crane involved in the accident is a fairly new piece of high-tech, computerized construction equipment. It stands at 256 feet tall and was holding a 121,000-pound pile-driving hammer when it collapsed. The use of this type of hammer has been cited as a routine task on the new Tappan Zee Bridge project, which has used 28 cranes on the jobsite. The construction of the new bridge started three years ago and is expected to be completed by 2018.
Commuters in the area at the time of the accident say the crane began to slowly move towards the bridge and then suddenly crashed down. The bridge shook in what drivers say felt like an earthquake as the crane’s boom came to rest across the seven traffic lanes on the bridge, leaving metal and other debris scattered across the road. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured in the accident, including the crane operator. There was one motor vehicle accident involving two cars trying to stay out of the way of the falling crane, and less than five people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Motorists in and around the area were stuck in traffic for hours as officials worked to not only get cars off of the bridge but reroute any drivers headed in that direction.
Thankfully by the next day only one lane remained closed to drivers. Engineers are on site to evaluate the level of structural damage to the bridge. Surface plates are being installed to keep that area of the bridge stable. Motorists should expect delays and sort out alternate routes for the foreseeable future.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cautioned that the crane collapse accident, “could have been a real tragedy.” While any serious injuries were avoided in this case, construction workers operate and work alongside these large and powerful machines on a daily basis all across the New York area. If you have been injured in any type of construction accident, including cranes, fork-lifts or scaffolding, contact the skilled and experienced attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help you through the legal progress on your way towards physical and financial healing.