© Photo special to The Guardian by Andrew White
This is all that remains of a street sweeper hit by a transport truck on the Confederation Bridge Monday, Jan. 13, 2014
Noon-hour accident on Confederation Bridge Monday, Jan. 13, sees traffic disrupted for five hours
An extended period of traffic disruption on the Confederation Bridge Monday was due to a complex vehicle removal process, say officials.
“It all had to do with salvage,” said Michel Le Chasseur, general manager, Strait Crossing Bridge Limited.
An accident around noon produced a collection of spilled materials and twisted, intertwined vehicles such that traffic was not back to normal until close to 5 p.m.
Staff Sergeant Ken Spenceley, district commander, Prince district RCMP told The Guardian Tuesday that he went to the scene in part to inquire about traffic flow.
The call about the accident came to the RCMP at 11:50 a.m. with police there in 10 minutes. A tractor-trailer heading to New Brunswick after food deliveries to P.E.I. struck a road-sweeper, property of Confederation Bridge travelling slowly in the same direction, towards N.B.
“The cause of that appears to be inattention on the part of the (truck) driver,” said Spenceley.
When emergency crews arrived they found three people injured, two seriously, he said.
“One of them ended up with some very significant injuries that were stabilized by the end of the day and he was transferred to Charlottetown for follow up,” said Spenceley.
After looking after the injured and transporting them to hospital, then some measurements, photos and witness interviews, the police were done, he said.
“It wasn’t due to the police investigation,” said Spenceley of the five-hour disruption of traffic that occasionally saw single-lane traffic flowing, first from P.E.I. and then from N.B.
Le Chasseur said a crane had to arrive, with stabilizing arms that blocked all traffic for a time.
“Here we had a unique-purpose vehicle full of sand and full of its components that was crumpled as a result of that collision,” said Spenceley of the sweeper vehicle.
“They had difficulty getting that vehicle and the tractor trailer moved,” he said.
Then there was difficulty disconnecting the truck cab from the trailer, and with freeing the brake system of the truck to allow it to be pulled onto a flat-bed trailer, said Spenceley. All the while making sure nothing slipped or let go in a way to damage the bridge wall, and also while allowing for some single-lane traffic.
“When they did move them, they had to completely block the entire lane to get the recovery vehicles to lift them,” said Spenceley.