NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Construction cranes are a familiar site in the Hub City, lifting heavy loads high into the sky to facilitate the city's highly noticeable redevelopment efforts.
But at approximately 10:17 am yesterday, a newly-erected crane installed at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital had a major malfunction that caused the city to shut down a section of Route 27 near the city's busiest intersection.
"Earlier today a cord on the crane broke and the crew lowered it to the ground to fix it before continuing use. It did not hit or drop anything, nobody injured, road has been reopened," said city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw.
But according to a spokesman for the hospital, which had installed the crane to build an 11-story building that mostly consists of parking, admitted that the crane had in fact dropped a heavy load that was thankfully only a few feet off the ground.
"A lifting cable on the crane at the East Tower project failed, causing a pre-cast wall section to drop approximately 3 feet onto the construction site between French Street and Little Albany Street," said RWJ spokesperson Peter Haigney.
Sources who witnessed the incident described an alarming site: the crane was wobbling back and forth after the cable snapped.
"There were no injuries or property damage resulting from the incident," said Haigney. "The construction area is restricted to pedestrians and the areas surrounding the site are under police supervision when work is underway."
According to the hospital, the crane was assembled on Saturday July 26 and approved for use following "all necessary inspections" the following day.
Last night, Haigney said construction would be postponed "while the appropriate entities conduct a thorough review and make all necessary repairs.
"Safety remains our top priority and strict measures will continue to remain in place when construction resumes."
The crane is one of several currently being utilized in the city, mostly in the Fifth and Sixth Wards. The particular crane at this location is so big that it requires a smaller crane to assemble it and take it apart after the job is finished.
Another equally large crane crane at the nearby contruction site of a luxury apartment building was recently dismantled after finishing the job.