WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A crane collapsed onto the Tappan Zee Bridge on Tuesday, shutting down travel in both directions on the span that crosses the Hudson River in New York.
Police said people jumped from the span as a construction crane for the $4 billion new bridge crashed onto the old span around noon ET.
Workers are cutting up the crane to remove it from the bridge, which could reopen later Tuesday, said South Nyack-Grand View Police Chief Brent Newbury.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said five people were injured — three drivers and two bridge workers.
Newbury said he expects "a traffic nightmare."
he span connects Rockland and Westchester counties. A new Tappan Zee Bridge is being constructed several yards north of the existing bridge and is expected to be completed in 2017.
In Rockland, cars were being diverted from Interstate 87 onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway. Trucks were being routed off the Thruway at Exit 12.
In Westchester, drivers on Interstate 287 were being diverted onto Interstate 87.
“One of the questions is how much if any structural damage did it cause to the bridge and how do they get the crane lifted,” said Rockland Sheriff's Chief William Barbera. “There might long term damage and might take hours to open the bridge.”
Rockland County, N.Y.-bound traffic backs up after a crane collapse on the Tappan Zee Bridge on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (Photo: Michael Fibison, USA TODAY Network)
Drivers stuck in traffic on the New York State Thruway in Rockland County said they saw various emergency personnel, including an ambulance and fire truck. Drivers were seen leaning out their cars to take photos and videos of the traffic.
Diana Cortez, the Tarrytown, N.Y.-area director for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said her agency had sent two inspectors to the scene.
“It’s not going to wrap up today, that’s for sure. I have no idea" when it might, she said.
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner said that there obviously has to be a review as to the oversight on the massive project. “Everybody who goes over the bridge expects that they are going to be able to travel safely. ... It’s unacceptable for any accident to occur on a construction project like this.”