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Beams dangling from crane at construction site near Javits Center snarls traffic for hours

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HELLS KITCHEN, Manhattan — The West Side Highway remained shut down during the Tuesday evening commute, as construction crews worked to remove two steel beams that tipped onto a sidewalk shed.

The accident happened at the construction site for the Jacob Javits Center expansion project on West 34th Street.

The West Side Highway closed down between 34th Street and 42nd Street.

NY Waterways said ferry service is suspended for the day into the 39th Street Terminal, moving limited service to a temporary spot on 44th Street.

In a statement to PIX11, the Department of Buildings said:

“Upon arrival, DOB inspectors determined that a crane at the site was hoisting a steel beam, when the load knocked over a second upright beam, causing both beams to lean into an adjacent sidewalk shed.”

Around 5 p.m., crews had removed one of the beams. The second beam was hoisted away about an hour later.

Convention Center Development Corporation, which is in charge of the Javits expansion, issued a statement saying:

“State and city officials are working with contractors to ensure the stabilization of a steel column, which leaned out of alignment and into a sidewalk shed along 12th Avenue at West 39th Street in Manhattan. Every safety protocol was followed and thankfully no injuries were reported. Contractors are working diligently to dismantle the affected steel and secure the construction site and once that is completed, NYPD will notify when traffic is open to the public.”

Drivers told PIX11 they were stuck in traffic for quite awhile. One driver said it took her 30 minutes to go three blocks.

Henry Ramos, who witnessed the accident, said he’d never seen anything like it in his life.

Joel Yodowitz was trying to bike around the closure, which he said was faster than driving. “Twelfth Avenue, it was horrible,” said Yodowitz. “It was bumper-to-bumper for quite a distance.”

The Department of Buildings said the West Side Highway will reopen once the scene is cleared. The Department continues to investigate the incident.

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