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February 8, 2012

Pre-cast concrete segment falls into river after gantry crane collapses

port mann crane collapse

BRADLEY FEHR

A crane collapsed on the Port Mann Bridge construction project on February 10, 2012 between Coquitlam and Surrey, British Columbia.

The gantry crane used to place the pre-cast concrete segments for the new Port Mann Bridge in Greater Vancouver collapsed today and dropped a section of the new bridge deck into the Fraser River.

“The yellow and blue gantry crane we use to install the pre-cast concrete sections of the north approach to the bridge experienced a malfunction this morning and is now leaning to the south,” said Max Logan, spokesperson for the Transportation Investment Corporation.

“There were no injuries and no impact on the travelling public.”

A gantry is a horizontal crane, which fits object in a trolley and lifts them with a hoist.

The objects are moved horizontally on a rail or pair of rails.

“The site was cleared and secured immediately, while crews were sent home and are not working today,” said Logan.

“At the time of the malfunction, one of the pre-cast concrete sections fell into the river. This section of the river was already closed due to overhead construction work. “

The incident happened at about 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 10.

According to Logan, the 90 tonne section is still in the water. It will be removed, but he doesn’t know when this will happen.

“The decision about when they return to work will depend on the contractor and WorksafeBC, who is carrying out an investigation,” he said. “The general contractor is also carrying out their own investigation to determine what happened.”

It appears that one of the supports for the gantry was crushed and it pitched forward.

The gantry being used on the new Port Mann Bridge is 19 metres wide, 13 metres tall, 155 metres long and weighs 720 tonnes.

The crane is being used to place the pre-cast segments for the new bridge deck. The work started on the south approach in Surrey and then moved to Coquitlam to install the north approach segments.

The newly placed segments become a platform for the crane as the bridge installation moves forward.

“To date, the gantry has been used to install 1,000 concrete segments,” said Logan. “This is the first incident of this kind.”

There are 1,158 new bridge deck segments being fabricated in Coquitlam.

Out of this total, 327 pre-cast segments will have been trucked from the pre-cast yard in Coquitlam across the existing bridge to the south bridge construction site and 831 pre-cast segments will be trucked to the north bridge construction site.

The 40 km Port Mann / Highway 1 project consists of the construction of a new 10 lane bridge and widening of Highway 1, upgrading interchanges and improving safety and access between McGill Street in Vancouver and 216th Street in Langley.

The cost of expanding the highway both west and east of the bridge and the new single 10 lane span bridge is about $ 2.46 billion dollars.

Construction of the new bridge is expected to create about 8000 jobs and is scheduled for completion by 2013.

The $1.2 billion bridge is part of the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project.

The design-build, fixed-price contract is with joint-venture partners Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and Flatiron Constructors Canada Limited.

see below for a gallery of photos from the accident. For more information on the gantry, see this article in the Journal of Commerce.

BRADLEY FEHR

BRADLEY FEHR

BRADLEY FEHR

BRADLEY FEHR

BRADLEY FEHR

BRADLEY FEHR

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