Crane Proves Critical to Bridge Replacement Project

A Manitowoc 18000 placed 175 beams measuring 102 to 168 feet and weighing up to 120 tons.

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A Manitowoc 18000 was put to work on a bridge replacement project in Pennsylvania. The project involved completely replacing the Pohopoco Creek and Lehigh River Bridge structures on the Northeast Extension of I-476 in Carbon County, Pa. During the course of the project, 175 beams measuring 102 to 168 ft. and weighing up to 120 USt, were placed.

Aaron Barnes, assistant resident engineer for the Lehigh River and Pohopoco Creek Bridge Replacement Project, said access and logistics made beam erection a real challenge on this project. 

"We installed a construction causeway, where the majority of the picks are made, in the Pohopoco Creek valley," he said. "Extremely steep slopes border the creek on both sides, and there is limited space on the causeway that ruled out picking the beams with two cranes. Because of these factors, we needed a crane that can lift beams of over 100 USt at a radius of 118 ft. The Manitowoc 18000 fits the bill perfectly."

The most challenging aspect of the job was the erection of beams for the longest spans on the Pohopoco Creek structures. There was very limited site access, so lifting contractor Cornell and Co. had to pick the beams from the right lane of the southbound mainline turnpike. Traffic lanes were closed while the 18000 was set up on the construction causeway 120 ft. below the beam.

Except for the northernmost spans of the Pohopoco Bridge, the 18000 picked the beams without assistance. The picks had to be done so the crane was close enough to handle the weight of the beam, but far enough away so the longest beam (164 ft.) cleared the crane's boom.

The crane, which is owned by ALL Erection and Crane Rental, had several different configurations during its time on the project. However, for its most challenging portion, the 18000 worked with 100 ft. of mast, 160 ft. of main boom and a 130-ft. luffing jib. It had 528,000 lbs. of crane upper counterweight and 320,000 lbs. of carbody counterweight.

The bridge replacement project began in January 2009 and is expected to be open to traffic in November 2011.