No one hurt when crane, parts of BA expressway fall onto street

Saturday, May 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ No one was hurt when a construction crane and part of the westbound Broken Arrow Expressway bridge fell onto Memorial Drive, authorities said.

A large crane, likely weighing several tons, crashed through the roadbed, along with a pile of concrete and rebar about 10 p.m. Friday. No vehicles on Memorial Drive were passing under the bridge at the time of the collapse, officials said.

The section of road that fell had been scheduled for demolition this weekend, said Martin Stewart, risk manager for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The newly constructed bridgework was not damaged.

``We're on schedule'' with the highway construction project, Stewart said. ``This doesn't hamper us at all.''

Traffic was diverted from the Broken Arrow Expressway and Memorial Drive, and highway traffic was backed up for several miles after the accident. Construction crews disassembled the fallen crane's boom by 11:10 p.m., and the expressway was reopened.

When the crane landed on Memorial, its long boom was leaning toward the elevated eastbound lanes of the expressway. Fire officials said it was lucky that the boom didn't fall on that overpass and crush it, too.

Crews had closed Memorial Drive earlier in the day in preparation for this weekend's bridge demolition, Stewart said. The heavily traveled street will reopen as scheduled at 6 a.m. Monday, he said.

The construction is part of a $101 million highway widening project that began in April 1993. ODOT expects the expansion to be completed in the fall of 2003.

Traffic counts show that the expressway averaged 81,000 vehicles a day in 2000.