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Maneuverable, easily de-rigged crane eases bridge construction

Maneuverable, easily de-rigged crane eases bridge construction

Two new bridges along the Trans-Canada Highway in southeastern British Columbia were built to help expand the highway’s capacity, one over the Canadian Pacific Railroad and a second crossing the Columbia River at Donald.

Flatiron Constructors Canada Limited, of Richmond, B.C., was the primary contractor for the $40 million project, which includes the bridges, upgrading 3.5 km of the highway from two to four lanes, and access and intersection upgrades for the Revelstoke to Golden segment of the Trans-Canada Highway.

Named after the unique rock formations found near Boulder, Colorado, Flatiron is one of the leading providers of transportation construction and civil engineering in North America. From a small materials company, Flatiron has grown into a large transportation and infrastructure contractor, amassing an annual construction volume of more than $1 billion.

Offering a full range of construction and engineering services, Flatiron’s Canadian division is doing nearly $3 billion in Canadian public-private partnership projects, including constructing three of Canada’s Top 100 projects – the Northwest Anthony Henday Drive, Port Mann Bridge/Highway and Circle Drive South.

Interesting logistical challenges
At approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) long, the Donald Bridge posed some interesting onsite logistical challenges for Flatiron’s workers. “With steep slopes, a small workspace and not a lot of room to move around, access was very limited for bridge construction,” recalls Rick Morrison, project manager for Flatiron Constructors Canada Limited. “We also had to move our main crane across the river several times.”

To support construction efforts of the Donald Bridge, Flatiron brought in three Terex crane models: a Terex RT 780 rough terrain crane, a Terex HC 110 hydraulic crawler crane, and a 230-ton lift capacity Terex HC 230 crawler crane. The smaller RT 780 and HC 110 cranes were used for support projects such as assisting with bridge substructure building, pier work and coffer dam construction.

On location for one year, the majority of the heavy lifting went to the Terex HC 230 crane. “It was a workhorse for us,” says Morrison.

The first task for the crawler crane was driving the piles of the Donald Bridge and work trestle. Equipped with a 130,000-pound (58.9 t) D160 diesel hammer, the HC230 efficiently drove 18 piles to support the 1,000-foot (300 m) long bridge. “Some of the pilings were up to 296 feet (90 m) deep,” mentions Morrison.

The Terex HC 230 offers a number of standard and optional features to assist with pile driving. The crane’s standard free fall capability of the main and auxiliary drums aids in the firing process of diesel impact hammers as well as setting the leads.

“Having free fall capability is very popular among bridge building contractors,” explains Jim Creek, senior crawler crane product manager for Terex Cranes – Americas. “Not only is free fall important for piling work but in some cases clam bucket work is also needed, which makes free fall a must-have feature.”

All drums, including the optional third drum, offer a power up/down feature. For setting the piles, Flatiron’s crew used the third drum to position the piles vertically. “The crane has individual controls for separate functions, which works very well for pile driving, as the machine is using three hoist drums during the process,” adds Creek.

Each drum is grooved for heavy-duty 1.13-inch (28 mm) diameter rope to increase maximum single line pull. “The HC 230 offers a high, 54,060-pound (24.1t) single line pull, which bridge contractors need for smoothly lifting heavy hammers into position and for piling extraction, if necessary,” says Creek.

Once the bridge and trestle piles were set, Flatiron’s crew called on the HC 230 to help assemble and position the bridge’s girders. Flatiron used 190 feet (58 m) of boom length with an offset tip and 3.8-foot (1.2 m) rooster sheave. The contractor equipped the crane with its maximum counterweight of 150,000 pounds (68 t) on the upper carriage and 32,000 pounds (14.5 t) on the lower.

A total of 84 girders – some constructed in pairs on the ground and others spliced together in position – were used to build the Donald Bridge. Crew members assembled the girders on land and the HC 230 moved them into position. “The crane had to move them approximately 200 feet (61 m),” says Morrison. “When maneuvering on the trestle, the operator had to cut the tracks 90 degrees in order to set the girders in place. We couldn’t do what we did without the crawler crane.”

The girder pairs were long and heavy. Morrison recalls one lift in particular that posed a challenge. “The longest pair were 138 feet (42 m) long by 9.8 feet (3 m) wide.” Working at a 42-foot (12.8 m) radius with 190 feet (58.0 m) of boom, the operator positioned the 140,000-pound (63.5 t) girder assembly at a 79-degree boom angle. “We were working at about 95 percent of the crane’s capacity that day,” he says.

Designed to offer excellent visibility, the 37-inch (0.94 m) wide operator’s cab on the Terex HC 230 includes curved windows at both the top and bottom, which made positioning the girders easier. “The operator really liked the range of visibility from the cab,” says Mike Gash, structures superintendent for Flatiron. “The crane offered smooth operation of the functions with such a long boom, even while walking the crane with the load.”

Crane moved several times across river
During bridge construction, Flatiron’s crew moved the crane back and forth across the Columbia River, and the machine’s design facilitated de-rigging efficiently. Its hydraulic counterweight removal system simplified counterweight installation and removal. Within a day, crew members had the crane de-rigged and loaded on to nine low-boy trailers, ready for transport.

“We had the crane up and down about three times for moves across the river,” says Morrison. “It’s a crane very easy to disassemble, transport and assemble.”

With the final girder installed and no additional heavy lifting required, the Terex HC 230 was de-rigged for the final time in July 2012. It helped crew members keep bridge construction on schedule for meeting the December 2012 contract deadline.

From the Donald Bridge jobsite, Flatiron moved the HC 230 to Edmonton, Alberta to help build 46 bridges to be constructed along the $1.8-billion northeast leg of the Anthony Henday Drive in Alberta.

The versatility of the Terex crawler crane line begins with a wide range of models, including lattice boom crawler cranes, lattice boom truck cranes, narrow track cranes and pedestal cranes. Modular designs offer the flexibility to adapt the crane to fit a project’s specific needs.

The Terex HC 230 crawler crane offers a maximum 230-ton (208 t) capacity and a 320-foot (97 m) maximum tip height. With its travel mechanism set within its shoe width, the crane boasts 48-inch (1,219 mm) crawler shoes for flotation and traction to offer 30 percent gradeability and two travel speed settings 0.55/0.37 mph (0.88/0.60 km/h).

The HC 230 can be transported in 9 to 12 truckloads, depending on configuration, and offers basic transport dimensions of 12 feet (3.66 m) wide and 11 feet 5 inches (3.48 m) high, so it can be moved on a standard lowboy trailer. Its hydraulic counterweight removal system simplifies crane rigging and de-rigging at the jobsite.

Both the main and auxiliary drums of the HC 230 offer power up/down and freefall capabilities. Its optional third drum assists with driving piles and makes this a preferred crane model among bridge contractors. The crane’s optional Counterweight Plus package increases lift capacity at work radii.

Company info

200 Nyala Farm Road
Westport, CT
US, 06880


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