Huge 120-tonne bridge collapses from crane crushing truck on street

A huge 120 tonne bridge has collapsed from a crane, completely crushing a truck on the street below. The massive structure was being moved by the machine as part of ongoing construction work on a flyover in Leeds city centre. An eyewitness told LeedsLive: “120 tonne section of the A64 bridge replacement has just collapsed on the truck from the crane.”

It is believed to have happened as workmen tried to move the section of the bridge from a crane, with the 120 tonne debris landing on a truck. Yorkshire Ambulance Service had not been called to the scene and said that there were no casualties. West Yorkshire Police also confirmed police had not been called to the incident.

The site, on Regent Street, had been closed from yesterday evening at 8pm for “bridge demolition works” and is due to reopen on Monday 17 May.

The section of the bridge fell from the crane last night

One Twitter user blasted the teams working on the project, writing: “Suggests this is an irresponsible lack of knowledge on the weight capacity! “Who in a million years could let this happen? Lucky it was just the lorry that got squashed.”

In a statement, Leeds City Council said: “Essential work to demolish and rebuild the northern section of Regent Street Flyover is currently ongoing.

Huge 120-tonne bridge collapses from crane crushing truck on streetMembers of the workforce gathered at the scene of the incident last night

“Last night, a concrete section of the demolished bridge was being lifted onto a specialist trailer to be disposed of and recycled away from site. It was safely placed onto the heavy load vehicle however there was failure of the trailer, causing the piece of bridge to shift from its resting position. It is now being broken up for safe removal and will be cleared from the site by lunchtime today.

“There were no accidents or injuries as a consequence of the trailer system failing and work will continue to demolish the bridge over the coming days.” The road is set to be closed for a further three weekends, as construction work is undertaken in the area.

Huge 120-tonne bridge collapses from crane crushing truck on streetOne Twitter user blasted the teams working on the project, claiming the incident was caused by an “irresponsible lack of knowledge”

Construction started in summer 2020 to rebuild the Regent Street flyover, which carries traffic over the A61 Regent Street, after it reached the end of its usable life. A government website with details of the project claims: “A specialist mobile crane will be used to negotiate the bridge beams, weighing a total of 220 tonnes, in to place.

Huge 120-tonne bridge collapses from crane crushing truck on streetPictures from the scene this morning show the piece of bridge that was dropped from the crane

“The bridge will have an overall total span of approximately 66m, with the largest steel beam measuring 44m in length and weighing 69 tonnes.”

The scheme is due to be completed in spring 2022. Of the demolition plans, Gary Bartlett, chief officer for highways and transport, Leeds City Council said last year: “It will help spark major and wider improvement projects and allow an unprecedented opportunity to create better public spaces, for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

Huge 120-tonne bridge collapses from crane crushing truck on streetThankfully, the area had been closed off to the public for ongoing construction work over the weekend

“These works enable us to take more motorised vehicles and their carbon emissions out of the city centre and contribute towards tackling the Climate Emergency. “The demolition method is very technical and not the usual way to demolish a bridge, but this method has been chosen because it is the safest method available and also minimises the amount of noise, dust and vibration generated which is essential in this city centre environment with businesses and residential properties nearby.

“Working with partners at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, bus operators, stakeholders and businesses in the city, our aim is to undertake the work with as little disruption as possible which is why the work was accelerated during lockdown to take advantage of light traffic flow.”