Firm that owns crane gets blame for wrecking bridge

A grader working under the span kept the bridge from falling far enough to allow the large crane to roll off. The concrete arch of the new spillway is to the right.

Transport officials are putting the blame squarely on the company that owns a massive crane for the collapse of a bailey bridge west of San José.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said Wednesday that it had no record that the owner of the crane sought permission to move the vehicle on the nation’s roads. Such permission is required for vehicles over 51 tons, said the ministry through its Dirección de Puentes.

The crane weighs 84 tons, although one report said 92 tons.

The self-propelled crane still is stuck on the partly collapsed bailey bridge over a construction site on the Autopista General Cañas.

Transport officials said they hoped to have the eastbound stretch open by Tuesday.

Traffic was a mess late Tuesday and Wednesday as motorists flooded alternate routes through Heredia and Escazú. The jams were similar to those that developed when the westbound lanes of the autopista were blocked by a washout.

The collapse came at a good time. Workmen had finished installing a spillway created with concrete arches under the highway. The crane caused the
bridge to slump, but a grader working under the span kept the bridge from falling far enough to allow the large crane to roll off.

The crane is owned by the Cartago firm of Gruas Quiros S.R.L. Transport officials had a similar crane at the scene Wednesday and had obtained the use of a much larger crane from the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

The larger device was delivered in pieces. It had been at work on a dam project.

Transport officials hope to use the twin cranes to lift the Quiros device from its precarious perch. They were working at the site round the clock. Once the Quiros crane is gone and the bridge disassembled, the site will be backfilled up to the highway surface and asphalt put down, officials said.

Responding to suggestions that traffic police should have stopped the crane before it damaged the bridge, the ministry issued a detailed explanation Wednesday. It said the responsibility rests with Quiros and listed other firms that had sought and received permissions. The ministry said that once permission to move a large crane is received, highway experts study the proposed route to prevent damage to roadways and bridges. The ministry noted that even the firms that delivered the concrete arches for the spillway had to obtain permission because the weight was more than 70 tons.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.