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Whitestone Bridge Accident

Whitestone Bridge Accident2 Hurt on Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

An M.T.A. construction truck struck an overhead road sign on the Queens-bound plaza of the Whitestone Bridge at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, causing the steel sign structure to come crashing down on all six lanes and injuring two people who were on the truck, according to M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels. The accident, which did not injure other passengers, the agency said, forced the immediate closure of the bridge. Cars were being rerouted to the Throgs Neck or Robert F. Kennedy Bridges just before the onslaught of Friday afternoon traffic.

The boom truck was driven by Alpha Painting and Construction Company, a contractor for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority hired to paint the bridge’s Queens and Bronx towers, according to Judie Glave, a spokeswoman for the authority. Two men sustained minor injuries, one had a head injury and another had a fracture leg, and both were taken to New York Queens Hospital.

“Right now we have our maintenance crews out there, they have to cut the metal part of the sign and remove it,” Ms. Glave said. “The hope is to get it open by rush hour.” She admitted that might be difficult.

George Attwal, a witness who said he was driving his Volkswagen Passat two cars behind the truck, described it as a pickup truck, with a cranelike operator in its bed, perhaps used like a cherry-picker to fix things, he said.

“I guess he forgot to lower it and it hit the roadway sign,” Mr. Attwal, 23, of Flushing, Queens, said in a telephone interview. “It collapsed right in front of us and two people fell off. They were standing in the back of the pickup. On person fell off and he rolled onto the road itself.”

Mr. Attwal, who was returning from a business call in New Jersey and headed to Long Island, said the accident “all happened within two seconds.” The car in front of him slammed on its brakes, and he hit his brakes hard to avoid a collision.

He estimated that the truck was going 15 to 20 miles an hour, but questioned why the two people would be outside on the bed of the truck.

Ms. Glave said she had no information about where the passengers of the truck were at the time. As soon as officials arrived on the scene, they directed Mr. Attwal to turn around and take the Throgs Neck Bridge.

The bridge was most recently closed in February during high winds when a tractor trailer overturned, Ms. Glave said.

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