The crane was being used in the construction of a $4 billion replacement bridge for the outdated bridge, which spans the Hudson River and connects South Nyack in Rockland County with Tarrytown in Westchester County. (Rockland County photo)

No Serious Injuries in Crane Collapse on Tappan Zee Bridge

There were five minor injuries in the collapse at the site, which is the largest current U.S. construction project, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said July 19.

The collapse of a construction crane onto the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York caused five injuries—three motorists and two construction workers, none of them hurt seriously—about noon on July 19 and halted traffic in both directions. The crane was being used in the construction of a $4 billion replacement bridge for the outdated bridge, which spans the Hudson River and connects South Nyack in Rockland County with Tarrytown in Westchester County. It is the longest bridge in New York State.

As the crane was driving a piling into the riverbed, its boom collapsed and fell across all traffic lanes of the old bridge. "One of the cranes that was operating with a vibratory hammer had an incident," New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo explained during a news conference at the site about 3:15 p.m. local time. He called it the largest current construction project in the United states. Authorities do not know why the crane fell; about 20 cranes were operating on the construction project at the time this one fell July 19, but this was the first accident on the project thus far, he said.

He said the timetable for the new bridge's construction should not be affected by the incident. "This has been extraordinary, in my opinion, with the progress of the project and the lack of any serious [safety] incident," Cuomo added.

"The crane operator is being checked but we believe he will be fine. . . . We are very, very fortunate that this situation wasn't worse," Cuomo said, adding that he was surprised no serious injuries occurred. Authorities  were summoned to inspect the collapsed boom and the old bridge's traffic lanes they struck to ensure the lanes are not structurally damaged. "Until that structural inspection is done, we are not comfortable, I am not comfortable, reopening the bridge. Again, it's a very old bridge [that] should have been replaced decades ago," he said.

Cuomo said he expected the structural inspection to be completed later in the day, and by 10 p.m. EDT on July 19, the bridge's northbound lanes and two southbound lanes had reopened to traffic. The right southbound lane will remain closed until repairs are made.

Initially, Rockland County Executive Ed Day said the damage would delay reopening of a lane and there was no ETA for reopening it. The crane operator was "shaken but not hurt," the executive tweeted.

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