Crane accident stops work at Middle Creek |

Crane accident stops work at Middle Creek

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily/Coreen Sapp A crane accident at the Middle Creek apartment construction site in Vail has shut down work on the project for at least a few days.

The Middle Creek affordable apartment project in Vail is shut down for at least a few days following a construction accident at the site Monday.

A crane tipped over at about 12:25 p.m. Monday. The crane operator was sent to the Vail Valley Medical Center emergency room for observation after the accident, but appeared unhurt.

“He had a scratch on his hand. That’s what we call a non-injury accident,” Vail Fire Marshall Mike McGee said.

“The incredibly good news is no one was hurt,” project developer Mike Coughlin said.

While there were no injuries, the crane’s boom is still stretched across the project to the north building. Getting the boom safely out of the way could be tricky, McGee said.

The site will also be shut down until structural engineers can determine if there was more than superficial damage to the structures. As of Monday, though, it appeared that the damage could be light, involving only some roof and floor joists.

“We’re going to be super thorough and careful,” Coughlin said. “Safety there is our number one concern, and integrity of the building is a close second.”

Coughlin also said the project schedule, which calls for a November opening, isn’t in jeopardy at the moment.

“As of last Friday we were ahead of schedule,” Coughlin said. “If we lose a few days, we’ll still be fine.”

McGee said the accident occurred when the crane, which was operating at grade level on the south side of the complex, was delivering a load of lumber to the building on the north side. The boom started to tip toward the building, at which point the operator swung the load back toward the crane. Before the operator could get the load back under control, the back tracks on the base of the crane tipped up, toward the building. At that point, the machine tipped over between two buildings. The crane was effectively destroyed in the accident.

McGee said he expects the job site to be shut down for four days or so, while the site is inspected. He also offered praise for Shaw Construction, the contractor on the project.

“They had really good management of the scene,” McGee said. “It was really anticlimactic when we got there.”

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