Monadnock Ledger Transcript

Published: 04/22/2021 12:30:06 PM

There were no injuries after a stake driver tipped over a dam at the Main Street Bridge construction site in Peterborough on Thursday morning, but the recovery process could be lengthy, city officials said.

The 90-ton Soilmec drill rig was misplaced when it tipped over the retaining wall under construction along Route 202, said Peterborough fire chief Ed Walker. “The boom landed in the water and the crane operator was able to get out of the cab,” he said. No injuries were reported by the operator or other on-site workers.

Lauren Morrissey was early to share a photo of the overturned machine online. She was in the Bar Harbor Bank and Trust overlooking the river and saw a “hectic” looking woman with her eyes at the construction site. “Then we looked out the window and saw it,” she said. Morrissey watched the operator climb out of the overturned rig. and said she was glad he was fine.

First responders were called on site at 10:01 a.m., Walker said. They closed Route 202, but single-lane traffic reopened just before noon.

The workers noticed a fuel leak from the machine and started cleaning after notifying city rescue workers, who in turn alerted the Department of Environmental Services, Walker said. Response to the scene quickly put a pad on to absorb the spilled fuel and the AW Peters oil company arrived on site to dump the remaining fuel in the tank, Walker said. The leak was “quickly contained” and DES conducted another assessment of the site starting at 11:30 am, said deputy city administrator Seth MacLean.

The machine is now sitting on a sheet that strengthens the retaining wall and work on the retaining wall will pause until it can be pulled out, MacLean said. At some point in the next few days, the city will have to block the streets again to get them out, Walker said.

“The removal is expected to take a long time,” said city administrator Nicole MacStay in a press release released on Thursday afternoon. “Given that the removal will require large equipment, additional road closures are expected in the near future.”

It’s too early to see how the rollover will affect project duration or financial impact, MacLean said. However, the city will be working closely with the construction company over the next few days to see if they are working on extracting the machine. Work on the bridge can continue in the meantime, he said. An update of the city had not yet been completed at the time of going to press.