Nearly two months after a crane crashed into the water at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, officials have completely removed it from Willoughby Bay.
The crane “walked off” a barge around 8 a.m. on February 8, 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 quickly place a boom around the crane to contain any oil or fluids that may escape from the submerged crane.
The spokesman said divers checked the submerged crame in the days after it fell off the barge and found it resting upright on the bottom of Willoughby Bay. The fuel and oil tanks were not leaking, meaning there was a low risk of contamination before the crane was removed.
Officials initially said that they expected the crane to remain in the water for a few days as they waited for a larger crane to arrive to pull it out, but then officials said on February 14 that it could be submerged for another “week or two.”
Crews split the recovery effort into two main parts. Phase one was completed on March 22 when crews removed the boom and counterweights from the crane. Days later, phase two was completed using a larger crane to lift the submerged crane body from the water and place it on a barge.
“With yesterday’s activity completing the full recovery of the crane from Willoughby Bay, the environmental protection measures and monitoring that had been in place to ensure the safety and security of the area surrounding the submerged crane have now been discontinued,” said Stephen Meyers, the project’s communication manager.
Initial reports from HRCP state that both fuel and oil tanks were intact and not damaged by the incident.
The crane is one of several being used for the HRBT expansion, which is still on track to be completed in 2025.