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Can It Happen Again?: Concerns About Safety After TZB Crane Collapse

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said an inspection of the Tappan Zee Bridge's structure is expected to take several hours after a crane collapsed across the bridge Tuesday afternoon.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said an inspection of the Tappan Zee Bridge's structure is expected to take several hours after a crane collapsed across the bridge Tuesday afternoon. Photo Credit: Kempter's Fire Wire
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner Photo Credit: File
A shot of the southbound side of the Tappan Zee Bridge where a crane boom that fell caused damage.
A shot of the southbound side of the Tappan Zee Bridge where a crane boom that fell caused damage. Photo Credit: Palisades Interstate Parkway Police
A photo of the crane collapse on the Tappan Zee Bridge by the New York State DOT.
A photo of the crane collapse on the Tappan Zee Bridge by the New York State DOT. Photo Credit: NYSDOT

After the boom of a crane toppled across the old Tappan Zee Bridge span on Tuesday, the supervisor of the town on the Westchester side of the bridge is expressing concerns about safety and calling for an investigation.

Just after noon on Tuesday, a crane operating a vibratory hammer that was driving pile collapsed. The boom of the crane fell and landed across the north- and southbound lanes of the Tappan Zee Bridge. The incident caught a lot of attention on social media and from other media outlets.

“I think we just have to learn from this,” said Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, who is calling for an independent investigation into all aspects of bridge safety.

After listening to remarks from Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a press conference yesterday, Feiner said it’s obvious a priority has been given to finishing the project.

During the press conference Cuomo stated that the project was the largest such infrastructure project in the country. Considering this, Feiner said extra precaution should be taken.

“I just feel a lot of motorists, constituents of mine, are just concerned about the safety,” Feiner said.

Terry Towle, the president of the Tappan Zee Constructors said the crane was one of 28 cranes operating and was holding a 120,000-pound vibratory hammer that is used to drive piles into the mud, a routine task.

Crews worked to clear the roadway while I-87 through Rockland County, and from Exit 8 to the bridge in Westchester remained closed. The northbound lanes reopened around 5:15 p.m. while two southbound lanes reopened later that evening.

The outermost right lane on the Westchester-bound side is expected to remained closed for several days due to damage caused when the crane fell.

The supervisor did offer praise to the state for the way they handled the crane collapse; the response was immediate. He also reported roughly five minor motor vehicle accidents occurred in the town as commuters scrambled to find alternate routes across the Hudson River.

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