Minicrane Aids Statue of Liberty Renovation

At 151 ft. tall and 225 tons, the Statue of Liberty cuts an impressive profile in New York Harbor. In September of 2011, the National Park Service kicked off a $30 million upgrade to allow for better safety and security while maintaining the monument’s historic look and finish. The 154-ft. granite pedestal underwent renovations that included the replacement of nearly 100 tons of stone pavers and granite wall panels.

The project involved the addition of two new staircases to allow easier access to and from the platform’s observation deck; renovation of a third staircase; removal and reinstallation of 3,400 sq. ft. of granite pavers and wall panels; and overall manipulation of approximately 85 tons of stone.

Big Capability in a Small Crane

The project’s stone subcontractor, Phillipsburg Marble, Phillipsburg, NJ, quickly recognized that it needed a piece of equipment that could lift, hold and maneuver the pavers and slabs — each weighing between 300 and 1,000 lbs. — and still work in the confined area at the base of Lady Liberty. The contractor reviewed the options and selected a Jekko SPD360 minicrane from Hillside, NJ-based Area Rentals.

The SPD360 is less than 3 ft. wide and just over 6.5 ft. tall when fully retracted, yet its boom expands to nearly 28 ft. and it can lift almost 4,000 lbs. The boom can rotate 360°, and the outriggers can be adjusted to stabilize the crane with two, three or four “legs.” The crane is operated via a proprietary man-machine interface, which allows one person to monitor all of the minicranes’ systems.

“Their battery and electric power allows a single operator to do work inside public buildings, utilities and other confined areas that do not allow gas engines,” says Jeremy Kazimar, Area Rentals. “The SPD360 is compact enough for one person to maneuver inside or out, and it has one of the best load charts in the industry.”

“We went with the Jekko because it was compact, versatile, easily deployed and easily secured during work on some irregular footing,” says Bob Barron, owner of Phillipsburg Marble. “We needed the crane to be able to remove and install pavers and panels, all of which had to be mechanically stabilized and anchored on the top and bottom.”

The ability to adapt to the terrain also proved important on the Statue of Liberty project “One of the benefits of the Jekko is that it was able to stabilize itself to work on some less than optimal surfaces where not all four of its outriggers could have the best footing,” says Barron. “And all of this maneuvering and adjusting could be managed by one person while other technicians helped secure the stone in place.”

The Statue of Liberty renovation project was started in the fall of 2011 and the statue and grounds were reopened on schedule to the public on October 28, 2012, but had to be closed just a few days later as a result of damage sustained on the island from Hurricane Sandy. The monument opened again in the summer of 2013, and the safety additions to the pedestal and observation areas are making it more accessible to the more than 3 million people who visit the monument every year.