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Township Responders Had Hands Full Monday

A 50-ton crane crossed a bridge Monday with a 2-ton weight limit … and had its problems
Crane photo by Amanda Murphy via 422 Sucks on Facebook

SANATOGA PA – The crash of a tractor trailer and a resulting fuel spill Monday (May 15, 2017) shortly after 7 a.m. on U.S. Route 422 near its Armand Hammer Boulevard interchange, and the 9:30 a.m. collapse of a Sanatoga bridge beneath the 50-ton weight of a mobile crane (at top), kept first-responder fire, police, and ambulance crews busy in Lower Pottsgrove Township for much of the day.

No significant injuries were reported in either event.

Township Responders Had Hands Full Monday

Traffic exiting 422 Monday, as seen in one driver’s rear-view mirror. Photo from 422 Sucks on Facebook

The 422 accident forced the closure of its eastbound lanes between the Route 100 and Sanatoga interchanges. It tied up traffic (at right) for more than five hours across greater Pottstown, as some drivers were re-routed onto East High Street through the borough.

The unrelated bridge collapse, outside Sunnybrook Ballroom west of North Sunnybrook Road, caused the crane to overturn into Sprogels Run and appeared to make the span unusable without substantial repair.

Truck-and-trailer accident closes 422

In the 422 incident, township police reported a tractor trailer driven by an Illinois man was crossing through the bridge construction area of the four-lane highway, above Porter Road and adjacent railroad tracks east of Armand Hammer. The driver told officers he reached across his cab for a beverage and lost control of the vehicle. It hit the right guard rail there and subsequently caused a spill of gallons of diesel fuel.

Traffic at one point was backed up for an estimated 2-1/2 miles at the height of the morning rush hour, police said.

Hazardous waste teams were called to deal with the fuel, while traffic between 100 and Armand Hammer was diverted off at the boulevard. Hours later one lane was re-opened on 422 east, and then the second as the clean-up ended and the truck was removed.

Bridge collapses outside Sunnybrook

Roughly 90 minutes after the 422 incident, what was described as a 50-ton crane – which was being driven off the Sunnybrook Ballroom property after completing work on an air conditioning and ventilation system – collapsed a wooden bridge connecting the parking lot there to North Sunnybrook Road.

The bridge had a weight limit of only 2 tons, and at least one sign stating the weight limit was visible to traffic, according to police. The crane driver had earlier used the same bridge to enter the property, without problems.

As the bridge gave way on its north side, the truck fell sideways and then overturned into the creek. The site involves a length of Sprogels Run that annually is the location for the township spring trout rodeo. Police reported some of the crane’s hydraulic fluid spilled into the water, but was quickly contained by haz-mat equipped volunteers from the Ringing Hill and Sanatoga fire companies.

The crane driver was said to have suffered minor cuts and bruises, but otherwise was not hurt.

A Sunnybrook representative said it was management’s intent to get the bridge repaired as quickly as possible. Until then, with the bridge out of commission and its North Sunnybrook entrance impassable, guests to the facility will be able to enter the property only from East High Street.

Removing the crane from the run proved to be far more difficult, as workers labored through Monday night to extricate the heavy equipment without hurting personnel or creating damage in the creek.

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