Southern Brooklyn

BREAKING: Crane Hits Subway Overpass At Avenue U, Forcing Street Closure



Avenue U between East 15th Street and East 16th Street is currently closed to traffic after a crane struck the Brighton line subway overpass.

At approximately 11:15am, a large flatbed truck carrying the crane and two concrete cylinders attempted to pass under the overpass, but it just didn’t have the clearance. The crane slammed into the overpass, ripping the bolts free from the truck and tumbling to the ground – where it’s now jammed several inches into the newly paved asphalt.

“The truck is about 35 feet away from the crane – it really smashed it. The crane is embedded into the asphalt. The bolts that were holding it onto the truck are probably a good three or four inches into the street,” said tipster Randy Contello.


FDNY responded to the scene and is still there, closing the street as they look to extract the stuck machinery from beneath the overpass.

DOT has also been summoned to the scene, but there have not been significant delays to B/Q service. Engineers are on-site determining the best strategy to remove the equipment.

No injuries were reported.


Photos by Randy Contello.

Updated 12:25pm with additional details.

Update (12:55pm): They’ve brought in a crane to remove the crane. “Craneception,” said our tipster, Randy Contello.


Update (1:56pm): The MTA said there’s been some damage to the overpass, but nothing significant. They also noted that the crane was still functional, which speaks volumes to its craftsmanship, I guess. Additionally, our tipster said that as of a minute or two ago, the crane has been loaded onto a flatbed and the street should reopen soon.

Update (2:02pm): The MTA has confirmed that the crane is owned by the MTA. They have not yet said whether the truck was being driven by an MTA employee. Portions of the above article have been edited to reflect this.

Correction/Update (3:30pm): Apparently it’s a bad day for cranes, and the MTA is getting all mixed up. They’ve retracted the previous information about this crane being owned by the MTA, and now note that that was about a similar incident in the Bronx. This appears to have been a private crane, and our tipster said the truck driving it was owned by Stillwell Construction.

Update (October 16, 2014 @ 4pm): Here’s a boatload of new photos from Randy Contello:

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

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Comment policy


  1. What’s wrong with these drivers? How much more clear can the signage be? If you don’t know the height of your truck and/or your load, then don’t proceed! What might stop this stupidity is if the companies that owns these rigs make the drivers pay for their stupidity by suspending them without pay.

  2. This is so stupid well there goes our sewers if they were there also. A truck driver should know how much height is his truck and the pounds he is loaded with. The sign is clear as day and it reads the height and inches of clearance. My goodness what next a bull dozer?

  3. Does the driver of the truck receive a suspended license after an incident like this? Was this guy simply inept, inattentive, drunk, or high? This happens far too often and a process of investigation is needed before we hand the keys back over.

  4. Having spoke to the investigators and truck driver. It seems like there was a mechanical failure of the crane units lift function. Causing it to raise a few inches during driving. The truck clears under normal times but with the issue they claimed it nolonger had the clearance needed, the driver did get a ticket, not sure what it was for exactly. This wasn’t a case of a bad driver u like a lot of the times this happens.

    In the photos I took u could clearly see the Pistons that raise the boom were slightly extended. Ned should be posting those sometime today.


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