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.
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