Bobcat machine clearing snow falls through bridge, injures 3

Posted: Updated:
HAWTHORNE -

Authorities say that three people were hurt when a Bobcat snow removal machine fell through a pedestrian bridge onto a highway in Passaic County.

Hawthorne police say that it happened around 11 a.m. Monday as the driver was clearing snow from the Ethel Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, which crosses over Route 208 near the Goffle Road exit. The bridge partially collapsed, causing the Bobcat to fall on to a truck that was passing by below.

“The van got hit really bad. Imagine that thing falling when you're coming in the van. Gotta be scary,” says Hawthorne resident Bob Botto.

Botto says that he has lived near the bridge for 40 years and has never seen anything like what happened Monday. He says that the bridge is typically cleared of snow by hand.

“This is the first time I’ve seen them use a piece of equipment that big on it, rather than someone shoveling,” he says.

Route 208 was closed for most of Monday following the accident. Crews say that they hope to have the highway reopened by Tuesday morning.

The bridge is also being evaluated by engineers. The New Jersey Department of Transportation says the agency owns the Ethel Avenue Pedestrian Bridge but Passaic County is responsible for its maintenance. The agency says it was last inspected in 2013 and was scheduled to be checked again this year.

Officials say that there are no federal inspection requirements for pedestrian bridges.

The extent of the injuries was not made clear.

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