Brooklynites have slung a lot of mud at Bruce Ratner’s controversial Atlantic Yards Project over the years. On Tuesday, the project returned the favor.
A drill accident at the eastern end of the biggest construction project in Brooklyn’s history sent egg-sized chunks of packed dirt and small stones raining down on unsuspecting pedestrians and commuters at the corner of Vanderbilt and Atlantic avenues on June 21 — leaving two injuries and more than seven damaged cars.
Witnesses said they heard an explosion at around 10:30 am as a hydraulic drill malfunctioned, sending dirt and rocks flying into the air.
“I heard this loud sound, but I didn’t know where it was coming from,” said motorist Yahya Alshemi, who was caught under a wave of mud pies. “Then rocks and dirt started falling all over my car.”
Chunks of dirt blanketed Alshemi’s car for nearly two minutes. One hunk slammed his windshield, causing it to spider web.
“I was very frightened,” he recalled. “Driving your car is a daily activity. This isn’t something you expect to happen.”
Motorists pulled over until the storm passed, but many suffered busted windows, rear windows and sunroofs.
All was not lost: a project manager at the site promised to pay any damage caused by the accident. Alshemi immediately went to a nearby repair shop and had his window replaced.
Not everyone was so lucky. Two people suffered light injuries, officials said. One person was sent to a local hospital with a slight head wound. The other was treated at the scene — the former BP station at the corner of Atlantic and Vanderbilt avenues.
The pile driving at the site is expected to continue for two months as part of developer Forest City Ratner’s infrastructure work on the Long Island Rail Road’s Vanderbilt Yards. The company — which is currently building the Barclays Center to house the Brooklyn-bound Nets — did not return calls.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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