Crane company to the rescue following bridge collapse

WIGAN-based Ainscough Crane Hire played a key role in operation to reopen the M20 in Kent following a collision which caused a concrete bridge to collapse.

The motorway, which links the M25 with the south coast and the Eurotunnel terminal, was closed on one of the busiest weekends of the year after the pedestrian bridge came down on the London-bound carriageway on Saturday when it was struck by a lorry carrying a digger.

Ainscough teams and equipment located from as far afield as Lancashire and Yorkshire were deployed to clear the motorway, which was closed for 24 hours after the incident on Saturday morning.

Two 300-tonne cranes were dispatched from Cardiff and Birmingham to the scene, which was between junctions three and four of the busy motorway.

Ainscough’s team, which as well as the cranes included four ballast carrying vehicles and 14 men, gathered at Clacket Lane Services on the M25 at 2am on Sunday morning and then moved to the site.

They then worked through the night to clear tonnes of concrete rubble and debris from the motorway, allowing transport chiefs to reopen the road by late Sunday morning.

The operation was co-ordinated by Mark James, operations director (south) at Ainscough Cranes, and directed on the ground by Rene Bleidorn from the company’s depot in Maidstone, Kent.

Mark James said: “It was an urgent operation which posed a number of challenges, which I believe we rose to meet.

“Our number one objective was to get the right equipment on site, as quickly as we could so we could safely clear the motorway on one of the busiest weekends for traffic in the year.

“When an urgent job comes in, it’s a case of having to find a quick solution and redeploying the assets to the site of the incident. Matters were not helped by the fact that so much traffic had built up around the scene, which is why we decided to meet at Clacket Lane and move to the site as a unit.

“Everyone worked incredibly hard to get the job done and I believe our response showed our regional strength and depth and the scale and capability of our resources.

“Aside from the M20 job, it was a busy weekend for us – all our heavy cranes were in use across the country.”

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