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NY’s fatal crane collapse under investigation

Work has resumed on the No. 7 subway extension project on Manhattan’s Far West Side after a fatal crane collapse last Tuesday. The accident took place at West 34th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues when a crane located below street level toppled over. It was not in service at the time.

The accident, which came weeks after another fatal construction accident in Harlem on the site of Columbia University’s campus expansion project, is under investigation. Yonkers Contracting, which operates the crane, has had a long and contested history of work on public projects in the city, including a fatal 2000 accident in which a painter fell from the Manhattan Bridge, said the New York Times. But also under investigation, are the safety procedures of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority itself, which operates and has sole jurisdiction over the site.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn has criticised the lack of city authority over the construction site and, on a tour of the site after the collapse, noted several safety violations, calling into question the MTA’s unchecked authority at the project. It is being recommended that the City Buildings Department be given authority over safety and inspection standards at all MTA projects. Mayor Bloomberg has withheld criticism, noted the Times, saying that the authority ‘runs projects pretty well’ and ‘does have a good record’. No decisions have yet been made.

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