The New York State Transit Authority announced shortly after noon that all lanes across the Tappan Zee Bridge span will be blocked indefinitely following the collapse of a construction crane a little more than an hour ago near the 15-mile marker. According to NBC News, who surveyed the accident via helicopter, the crane significantly damaged a concrete outer barrier, in addition to strewing dangerous debris. The Associated Press has reported at least one injured individual being taken away in an ambulance.
This is the second significant perilous incident that occurred as a result of the ongoing construction effort to erect the new Tappan Zee Bridge alongside the existing structure, which has linked Westchester and Rockland Counties for more than 60 years. It’s also only several weeks removed from the havoc that ensued when a truck driver with a suspended license rolled over on the bridge this past spring.
We will update you with more information as it comes in.
Update (7/20) 9:58 am: This morning, six of the seven lanes are open for commuters, with only the Westchester-bound right lane blocked.
“We don’t know exactly what caused the malfunction,” Gov. Cuomo said during a live press conference. “Sometimes equipment breaks and sometimes accidents happen. As simplistic as that sounds sometimes that’s all there is to it.”
Update 5:34 pm: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the northbound lanes, headed toward Rockland, were being reopened. One southbound lane, headed toward Westchester, will be reopened by 7 pm and a second southbound lane by 8 pm. All injuries were not life-threatening. There was significant surface damage to a Westchester bound lane and some structural damage to the same lane underneath, Cuomo said after the inspection.
Update 3:30 pm: While no cars were actually hit by the crane, there were three drivers and two workers with injuries. The accident was due to a malfunction with the vibratory hammer. The bridge will remain closed until a structural inspection is completed. Gov. Cuomo is holding a live video conference at this time.
Update 1:33 pm: LoHud reports that two people have been injured due to the collapse. According to a tweet from Gannett’s Albany Bureau Chief Joseph Spector, the crane’s operator is believed to be stuck in the crane. Gov. Andrew Cuomo left an event in the Finger Lakes to head towards the scene.
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