Vehicle salvage from bridge cause of five-hour delay

Nigel Armstrong
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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.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Terrym
    January 15, 2014 - 07:37

    Perhaps the "Street sweepers" should be on the roads at night like every other city in the world. I would like the video of the accident released to the public to see. Likely the sweeper in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only safety issue on this bridge is the 80km speed limit. It's time they raised it to 100km to get with reality.

    • Cell Phone or Texting or Just Bad Driving?
      January 15, 2014 - 08:46

      If the truck driver couldn't see the sweeper in broad daylight I doubt he would have much better luck at night.

    • Trillium
      January 15, 2014 - 14:07

      Uh. Yes, let's raise the speed limit cause that will certainly help make it safer. Maybe people should worry less about "Gotta go fast!!!" and worry more about actually paying attention while driving. I don't know if many bridges that operate on highway speed limits... Islanders already can't drive as it is. Let's not make it worse by having the next accident go off the side of the bridge.

  • Dundas Sue
    January 14, 2014 - 23:25

    I wonder what the final bill will be to that truckers inisurance: a sweeper totalled, truck damaged, a crane hired, human injury, etc etc, SLOW DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION Also Bridge people, make sure your warning signs are correct - and timely

  • don
    January 14, 2014 - 21:53

    thank God no one was killed. how fast was the trucker going? i think maybe the rcmp should set up a radar to nail the speeders. i remember coming from NB a few years ago and the bus was going 90mph.

  • Lol
    January 14, 2014 - 21:15

    Should have called Jamie Davis.