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Gov. Cuomo Cites “Miracle” After Tappan Zee Bridge Crane Collapse Causes Only Minor Injuries

“Nothing short of a miracle” was the way Governor Andrew Cuomo summed up the events of July 19, after one of 28 construction cranes working on the new Tappan Zee Bridge toppled onto the old bridge directly across six lanes of high-speed vehicle traffic. Whether it was divine intervention or sheer luck, the collapse occurred around noon when traffic was light. No one was killed: three motorists and one construction worker escaped with only minor injuries, although traffic along the busy artery was snarled for hours.

Bridge-building has always been a risky business. Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge claimed more than 20 lives from 1869 to 1883. Three people died during construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from 1959 to 1964. While the original Tappan Zee Bridge was being built, from 1952 to 1955, one worker died. However, standards for worker safety are higher today, and there is less tolerance for these types of potentially devastating accidents. To date, there have been no deaths or serious injuries during the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge since work began in 2013.

Yet, for New Yorkers, crane collapses seem to be occurring with alarming frequency. The collapse of a 15-story construction crane in Tribeca last February killed one man and injured three other people. The crash of the crane onto the Tappan Zee raises issues of the structural integrity of an aging bridge that has already been in service for 10 more years than it was originally designed to last. However, the accident has not negatively impacted construction and is not expected to change the time frame for completion of the project.

The experienced and compassionate injury attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia represent victims of construction accidents throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. Contact us to schedule a consultation at our Long Island office.