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New Jersey Herald - July 16, 1967 issue

Seven-Ton Railroad Girder Buckles Heavy Crane

Andover Township-- As if in final protest against curtailment of railroad service in Sussex County, the weight of one of the steel girders supporting the overpass on the Newton-Sparta Road caused a heavy crane to buckle on Thursday just as the last obstruction was moved from across the road.

 The 60-year old overpass of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad was removed by workmen from Salmon Brothers, Inc., of Netcong in one hour at mid-morning on Thursday after all preparatory work had been completed the previous day.

 There were no hitches in the well-organized operation until the very last. Just as the crane operator maneuvered the final seven-ton girder into position on the railroad bed off to the side of the overpass, the long arm of the crane buckled at the middle and collapsed over the raised railroad bed.

Traffic had been re-routed during the operation, and because of the many other safety precautions taken beforehand there were no injuries involved in the accident. It took an additional hour to get the damaged crane from the roadway before traffic could proceed through the area.

During the entire period, county and local officials were discussing plans for the removal of the huge concrete abutments and the eventual elimination of the sharp curve at the intersection.

Early Thursday, workmen from salmon Brothers and Hyman Michaels Salvage Company of Chicago, the principal contractor for the removal of all steel and ties from the railroad line from Andover Junction to Branchville, were on hand to complete the final unbolting and torching of the ends of the two seven-ton girders preparatory to lifting off the steel and eliminating the overpass.

They were joined by county and municipal officials and employees and by a crew from the New Jersey Power & Light Company who were on stand-by in the event of any damage to electrical lines above the overpass. State police were also on hand to assist traffic control along detour routes during the removal operation.


Project Underway

At 9:30 a.m. Sussex County Engineer Calman J. Ambrosy Jr. ordered the operation to get underway after final consultation with Freeholder Jack Prout, Andover Township Mayor H. Grant Leonard and Township Committeeman Jake Christensen.

Both Prout and Leonard pledged to put forth a concerted effort to get railroad approval to eliminate the concrete abutments and cut back the high railroad road bed and thus reduce the bad curve which has been the cause of many accidents at the intersection.

They said they would work in conjunction with Ambrosy, who with Mayor Leonard was instrumental in completing the negotiations which permitted the immediate removal of the overpass last week prior to the reconstruction of Yates Avenue scheduled to begin tomorrow (Monday).

Because of the 11-foot clearance at the overpass, many large trucks have been forced for years to bypass the intersection by use of Yates Avenue and Stickle Pond Road. The reconstruction work would have forced a detour off the Newton-Sparta Road through Waywayanda Road to Route 206 in Andover and Thence into Newton.

[Picture Caption: BADLY BENT...Andover Township--Crane used to seven-ton girders from railroad overpass on Newton-Sparta Road buckled and bent at right angles after moving the second and last beam from the overpass on Thursday morning. The fractured end of the crane was later cut off with acetylene torches and removed

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