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West Side Highway Reopens After Construction Accident Near Javits Center Creates Traffic Nightmare

The West Side Highway was shut down in both directions between 34th and 42nd streets as authorities investigated

What to Know

  • Two beams fell from a crane by the Jacob Javits Center on 12th Avenue near 34th Street Tuesday
  • Officials say they got a call about the fallen beams on 12th Avenue shortly before 10 a.m.; it appears a crane had a "material load drop"
  • The West Side Highway near Javits was closed for hours into the night; it reopened by 10 p.m.

Two beams fell from a crane by the Jacob Javits Center near 34th Street Tuesday morning, shutting down West Side Highway traffic for more than a half-dozen blocks in both directions for hours into the night. 

The West Side Highway was shut down in both directions between 34th and 42nd streets as authorities investigated the beams, which the FDNY tweeted were "leaning precariously" on a sidewalk shed overlooking northbound traffic just south of the Lincoln Tunnel. The highway remained closed for hours into the evening rush, and was finally reopened by 10 p.m. 

Fire officials said they got a call about the fallen beams on 12th Avenue shortly before 10 a.m. The Department of Buildings, which sent inspectors to the scene, said a preliminary investigation indicates there was a "material load drop" from a crane operated at 655 W. 34th Street, which is the Javits' Center address. 

Department of Building inspectors determined that a crane was hoisting a steel beam when the load knocked over a second upright beam, causing both beams to lean into an adjacent sidewalk shed.

Contractors on the site used a second crane to safely transfer and remove the load from the sidewalk shed.

In Pictures: Beams Fall Over West Side Highway, Snarling Traffic for Blocks

A large FDNY response was seen on the highway in social media video and on traffic cameras. No one was hurt. A cause of the incident is under investigation. 

In a statment, Convention Center Development Corporation President Robin Stout said: “State and city officials are working with contractors to ensure the stabilization of a steel column, which leaned out of alignment and into a sidewalk shed along 12th Avenue at West 39th Street in Manhattan."

Additionally, Stout noted that "every safety protocol was followed and thankfully no injuries were reported. Contractors are working diligently to dismantle the affected steel and secure the construction site and once that is completed, NYPD will notify when traffic is open to the public.”

The Department of Buildings' investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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