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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJuly 11 - July 17, 2018

Daring Bridge Recovery in Texas

0 e9f02By Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Based in Plano, Texas, Jordan Towing is a second-generation towing operation run by brothers Curtis and Chris Jordan. They have been the exclusive provider of towing services for North Texas Tollway Authority since 1996.

On Sept. 15, 2014 NTTA contacted Jordan Towing to respond to a semi carrying a huge boring rig that had overturned, causing massive traffic delays on the George Bush Turnpike and Dallas North Tollway.

Curtis responded in his 60-ton Century rotator with operator Brad Benson. Chris was in their 35-ton Vulcan with operator Tony Williams, and Allen Holden was in their 25-ton Vulcan.

"The truck took the turn too fast on the curve and the equipment started leaning to the right until it took itself and the trailer over the wall of the bridge, where the drill machine became paper-clipped on the concrete wall between its track and cab," said Curtis.

The North Texas Tollway Authority also called in two experts from Davis Crane to oversee and advise on the operation.

"The first part of this recovery operation was to stabilize and secure the load," Curtis said. "We put a few chains and binders to anchor it down and cables to secure it. The concrete was coming apart on the bridge.

"This was a brand new machine valued at $800,000 and it weighed about 40,000 pounds," he said. "If we didn't work fast, there was a real possibility that it would continue to break the concrete and go down through the westbound George Bush Turnpike and end up on the southbound Tollway below that."

They staged the 35-ton Vulcan at the back of the casualty with the 25-ton Vulcan up front. The 60-ton Century rotator was alongside the trailer.

With the machine and trailer stabilized, they still needed to get to the overhanging part of it to rig for lifting. Enter operator Tony Williams who volunteered for this mission.

"Davis Crane provided an OSHA-certified harness for Tony to get into, and he was hooked to a wire rope from the boom of the 60-ton rotator," Curtis said. "Operator Brad Benson, at the controls of the 60-ton, spun Tony out and landed him on the track.

"He rigged to hook points on the drill machine. We ran a 100-grade wire rope through the housing that we were able to hook to attachment points on the drilling machine."

As the 25-ton pulled the front and the 35-ton pulled from the back, the rotator picked straight up to clear the wall. Then the 35-ton and 25-ton rolled it on its tracks onto the roadway.

"We had a Landoll trailer on hand that was brought in by the construction company," Curtis said. "We used the winch cable from the 25-ton under the belly of the drilling machine to pull the Landoll under the drill as the 60-ton and 35-ton had the drill in air."

Once safely loaded and secured on the Landoll and on its way back to the construction company, the owner of the machine—and everyone else—breathed a sigh of relief.

This article previously appeared in the Oct. 29, 2014 edition of Tow Industry Week.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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