Contractor charged in relation to 2022 crane collapse

A Fredericton contractor faces charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for a 2022 incident where a temporary bridge collapsed under the weight of a crane while working on the Coles Island bridge replacement.

Caldwell & Ross Ltd. appeared through a lawyer in Saint John Provincial Court Monday, Feb. 26, on two charges including failing to provide information necessary to ensure an employee's health and safety and failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of employees, according to court documents

The case was adjourned, and the firm was scheduled to return to enter pleas March 25. Caldwell & Ross did not respond to a request for comment.

The charges, sworn Jan. 8, pertain to a Feb. 22, 2022, incident in Coles Island. According to WorkSafeNB communications manager Lynn Meahan-Carson, a crane performing work on the bridge project fell into the Canaan River when the temporary bridge structure it was on collapsed. The crane operator was not injured in the incident, according to Meahan-Carson.

At the time, Brunswick News reported that the crane took out a power line, leading to an outage that affected 241 people. At the time, the $45 million bridge replacement project was projected to be complete by 2024.

Tyler McLean, spokesperson for the province's department of transportation and infrastructure, said that the north and south bridges opened to two lanes in December, but due to equipment removal, the section between the bridges is open only to one lane.

The detour bridges are being removed, and paving of the bridge approaches as well as opening the whole site to two lanes is expected by June, McLean said.

Andrew Bates, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal