The Tappan Zee Bridge became a parking lot when a construction crane collapsed on the span injuring five people, shutting down traffic and trapping motorists for hours.
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.
Video from a helicopter recorded by ABC station WABC-TV in New York shows the crane sprawled across multiple lanes of the bridge.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said just before 4 p.m. that inspectors were on the way to evaluate the damage and their work would take “several hours.”
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is urging drivers to be patient, calling it “a commuter’s nightmare.”
“The biggest thing right now is to make sure the bridge is safe and then open that bridge as fast as possible,” Astorino said, “because it is going to be traffic hell.”
Meanwhile, Town of Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner Feiner is calling for an investigation into what happened.
“I hope that the state will conduct an extensive review of the bridge construction safety oversight,” he told WCBS 880. “We were really very fortunate. It was a miracle that there were no fatalities or serious injuries. It could have been much, much worse.”
Construction on the new Tappan Zee Bridge has been underway for three years. The $3.9 billion project, which is being built alongside the old span, is expected to be completed by 2018.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 5:15 p.m. that the northbound lanes, headed toward Rockland, are being reopened.
One southbound lane, headed toward Westchester, will be reopened by 7 p.m. and a second southbound lane by 8 p.m., he said.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said five people had injuries that were not life-threatening — three drivers and two bridge workers.