The crane that crashed into the water at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel on Tuesday morning is expected to stay at the bottom of Willoughby Bay for a few days as crews wait on the arrival of a larger crane to fish it out.
The crane “walked off” a barge around 8 a.m. Tuesday (8th Feb), per a spokesperson with Hampton Roads Connector Partners, which is overseeing the HRBT expansion project. He said the operator of the crane was moving it onto a barge when it somehow fell off the side. The crane operator was able to get out before it fell into the water.
Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) marine incident response crews were able to place a boom around the crane to contain any oil or fluids that may escape from the submerged crane.
Initial reports from HRCP state that both fuel and oil tanks were intact and not damaged by the incident.
The U.S. Coast Guard was working with the HRCP Marine Team regarding preventive measures to mitigate possible environmental issues resulting from the incident. The crane is under surveillance in the meantime and beacons have been placed to alert boaters.
Crews are working on a plan to recover the submerged crane, which involves the larger crane. It’s currently in the process of being transported from Baltimore.
An accident investigation is currently being conducted and all of the project’s marine operations are at a “stand-down” pending the results of the investigation.