Toppling crane causes no damage to span during Bay Bridge work

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerA crane toppled over Thursday while removing unneeded support structures from the Bay Bridge’s eastern span. The crane dropped a 129-ton piece of metal

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerA crane toppled over Thursday while removing unneeded support structures from the Bay Bridge’s eastern span. The crane dropped a 129-ton piece of metal

A construction crane working on the new Bay Bridge span tipped over aboard a barge Thursday afternoon, scraping off some paint but apparently not damaging the bridge or injuring any workers.

Workers were using the barge-mounted crane in tandem with another one to remove temporary supports from the self-anchored suspension portion of the new eastern span when a 129-ton piece of metal it was removing fell, according to Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin.

The temporary support fell out of the large basket workers were using to lower it onto the barge, causing the crane, and its 168-foot boom, to lose its center of gravity and also topple over, Goodwin said.

The crane did not fall into the water and there was no spill of oil or any other substance. None of the four workers — two crane operators and two ironworkers — was injured in the accident.

Workers from American Bridge/Fluor, the main contractors on the self-anchored suspension span, were operating the crane at the time of the incident, said Andrew Gordon, a Bay Bridge spokesman. Neither company could be reached to determine the cost and amount of damage to the crane.

The contractors and the Coast Guard are both investigating the accident, Gordon said.

The incident occurred under the structure of the bridge and away from the tower, according to Goodwin. He said the bridge structure does not appear to have been damaged.

The supports are pieces that were in place to hold up the self-anchored suspension span during construction, Goodwin said.

Workers transferred the weight of the new span to the cable in November, and there are hundreds of support pieces to now remove, Goodwin said.

The incident is not expected to affect any work on the bridge’s new span, which is scheduled to open on Labor Day weekend, Gordon said.

The bridge is scheduled to be closed for final work in the days leading up to the opening, which will be feted by events such as footraces across the new span.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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