Operator error led to crane accident at Southwest light-rail construction site

Officials say operator error caused a crane working on the $2 billion Southwest light-rail project in Minneapolis to partly topple last week.

A preliminary investigation found the operator had stepped out of the cab and left the machine running when the boom failed about 3 p.m. July 15 near the Cedar Lake Shores Townhomes in the Kenilworth corridor, said project spokesman Trevor Roy.

No one was hurt and no property damage was reported. Eight to 10 residents living near the site were evacuated as a precaution.

The crane remained on its wheels and the boom never touched the ground, Roy said.

It took five hours to clean up and remove the crane from the site. The crane has been returned to the manufacturer for further inspection, Roy said.

The operator has been taken off the project, Roy said.

Following the incident, Roy said contractor Lunda/McCrossan Joint Venture reviewed safety procedures with all of its operators. The contractor said there will be more emphasis on safety, and review and inspection of crane-related work in the corridor.

The accident is not expected to delay work on the 14.5-mile line that will run from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. Service is expected to begin in 2023.

Cedar Lake Parkway, which had been closed since last week, was set to reopen Wednesday. The road will close again later this year for six months when tunnel construction begins.

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