A massive 700-tonne horizontal gantry crane collapsed off of one of its support legs this morning on the new $3.3 billion Port Mann Bridge construction project, dropping a 90-tonne section of the bridge deck into the Fraser River below.
At the time of the accident, the distinctive yellow gantry crane was holding the 90-tonne section of the bridge deck. Between 8am and 9am, one of the cranes support legs gave way and buckled, causing the crane to slip off its tracks, pitch forward and tip down, leaning towards the south end of the cable-stay portion of the bridge.
The bridge deck segment struck a pile as it fell into the river and is currently fully submerged under water. Workers will attempt to recover and remove the damaged segment from the river; however as of Friday afternoon, it was uncertain when this would be done.
The construction project requires about 1000 of these concrete bridge deck sections to be put in place on the approaches to the new Port Mann Bridge.
At a brief press conference about the February 10, 2012 accident, Max Logan, spokesperson for the Port Mann-Highway 1 project said, “As soon as the contractor became aware of the situation they immediately ensured that the site was cleared and secured.”
“The footing of the gantry sustained some damage but the gantry itself is fine. At this point, we’re not expecting that this will result in any substantial delays,” says Logan.
“Nobody was hurt as most workers were on the bridge deck and a head count was quickly done to confirm that all were accounted for,” he said.
Investigators from WorkSafeBC and contractor, Kiewit Flatiron are currently assessing the situation and looking into the cause of the crane’s support leg failure and gantry collapse.
Logan said, “It is too soon to tell whether the incident will delay or impact construction.”
The massive $3.3-billion construction project will replace the existing 4-lane Port Mann Bridge with a new 10-lane cable stayed toll bridge crossing the Fraser River on the Trans-Canada highway and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.
Category: Accident Report