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Alabama 46 bridge in Cleburne County collapses during construction

Bridge collapse

A construction crane fell Tuesday afternoon, destroying most of the work completed on the bridge at Cane Creek on Alabama 46 in Heflin. Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks and police officer Danny Turner survey the damage.

HEFLIN — A large construction crane toppled and fell around 2 p.m. Tuesday on a bridge under construction on Alabama 46 in Heflin.

There were no injuries, according to Linda Crockett, public affairs officer with the Alabama Department of Transportation. Crockett said the accident is under investigation and a statement will be issued next week which will include a new timeline for the completion of the bridge.

The bridge, which spans Cane Creek, had been expected to be finished later this year.

The crane was positioned on a temporary wooden bridge next to the new bridge. The temporary bridge collapsed, allowing the crane to fall and destroy every newly installed horizontal concrete beam, snapping them into several pieces as they came to rest in the creek.

The crane was  partially submerged in the creek, resting on the wooden bridge that had given way as workers scrambled to start the clean-up.

Rudy Rooks, Heflin mayor, stood over the destruction  beside the creek and said he was glad no one was injured.

“They had been going so good on getting this bride in. They had all the beams set across it, and it’s devastation. It’s going to be quite a setback,” Rooks said.

The bridge is adjacent to Cane Creek RV Park, and co-owner Robert Garner said the heavy weights that were used to hold the crane down to install the beams were just removed this morning.

Garner said seeing and hearing the collapse was harrowing.

“I heard every bit of it. I honestly thought we were going to have a fatality. I’m surprised everyone came out of this unscathed and unhurt; they were a little shook,” Garner said. 

Garner said when he heard the first crack the bridge started to give way.

“And then it was a domino effect, great big booms as the beams were cracking ... I jumped on my mower and headed up there and a military guy was here working for the Army Corps and I told him to call 911,” Garner said.

Garner said his RV park has suffered a decline in business since the bridge was closed last year because most of his tenants work in Georgia and the detour adds an extra 15 miles to their commute.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.

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