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Crane strikes sign – blocks Whitestone – QNS.com

Crane strikes sign – blocks Whitestone

Conor McGuirk, Peter Oliveri and Zack Gold, members of the Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance Corps., were among the first on scene on Friday, March 27 when a crane struck an overhead traffic sign on the Whitestone Bridge, causing it to crash down onto the southbound Queens side.
According to a spokesperson for MTA Bridges & Tunnels, shortly after 1 p.m., a contracting company hired to paint the bridge was moving a boom truck with a crane, which struck an overhead gantry sign.
The impact took down the sign and the gantry, the metal system that supports signs, blocking all six lanes (three southbound and three northbound lanes), and closing the bridge in both directions.
“We had the radio on and heard a call come over about a possible collapse on the bridge itself,” said McGuirk, 19, a five-year member and certified EMT.
The truck, which has a crane attached to the back, was driving near the Queens anchorage when it struck the sign.
It took the volunteers about three minutes to get to the scene, according to McGuirk.
“It was like out of a movie – mangled metal everywhere,” he said.
Two employees of Alpha Painting & Construction Company, Inc., suffered minor injuries and were taken to New York Hospital Queens.
All traffic was removed safely from the bridge and was diverted to the Throgs Neck and Robert F. Kennedy bridges, but cars remained backed up for hours after the incident.
“It felt pretty good to be involved in the situation,” said McGuirk, a nursing student who is also an EMT with Senior Care.
After this, he said, he intends to keep volunteering with the Ambulance Corps.
Alpha Painting & Construction Company Inc., of Baltimore, MD, has been an MTA Bridges and Tunnels contractor since 2008. They were hired to paint the Queens and Bronx towers at the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

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