It is the season in many European countries where soft verges give way under the weight of cranes or large truck mounted lifts. A three axle crane rolled off a road in Scotland yesterday, trapping the driver, while a 90 metre boom lift overturned last month on a wind farm in Ireland.
Yesterday’s incident occurred on the A96 road roughly halfway between the towns of Elgin and Alves. The road there is raised on one side running higher than the surrounding fields, with a low retaining wall. We understand that the crane, a 55 tonne Grove GMK-3055 owned by Mackay Steel Work and Cladding which also rents cranes, either ran off the road or the verge collapsed.
The operator was trapped in his cab and had to be rescued by the emergency services using cutting gear, he was treated at the roadside and was not seriously hurt.
In another incident, one of Height for Hire’s 90 metre Bronto truck mounts overturned on a wind farm project in Kerry around five weeks ago. The safety authorities insisted that it be left in place until their investigation was completed.
We have few details of what occurred, the company preferred not to comment, but did say that it would provide more details once the investigation was complete. As far as we know no one was hurt in the incident. We understand that the platform was eventually recovered, three weeks after the incident occurred, and it has been taken to the Volvo truck dealer service workshop for inspection and repair. It is hard to see from the photos we have received what caused the rollover, although soft verges are the usual cause, we understand that in this case it might be more a soft slope? We will update this when we have further information to that lessons might be learnt.
Given the heavy rain in much of northern Europe, the risks of verges on narrow roads collapsing is exceptionally high and needs careful consideration, when sending heavy equipment to jobs where this is the only form of access. Better to back up a few hundred metres than try and squeeze past oncoming traffic.