USA crane contractor Davis Motor Crane Service, based in Irving, Texas, has carried out a bridge beam placement job for construction joint-venture Archer Western – Herzog. The work is part of a $998 million commuter rail project called Texrail which, when finished, will comprise a 27.2 mile commuter rail system operating between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas, USA.

Davis Motor Crane Service used two Link-Belt telescopic crawlers for the job: a 100 tonne (110 ton) TCC-1100 and a 230 tonne (250 ton) TCC-2500.

To start, the cranes lifted 16 beams per day, in tandem, for four consecutive days. The beams were 90 ft (27.4 m) long and weighed 98,000 lb (44,452 kg). Due to space required by existing rail companies Davis Cranes had a narrow boundary zone in which to setup, unload and place the beams.

“We started out with trucks coming in here close to the rail with the TCC-1100 and TCC-2500 tying into the beams. Because of the small road we had to coordinate how to get the cranes in here, position with the trucks, and then set the beams,” explained Lucas Williams, the operator of the TCC-2500 for Davis Cranes. “The TCC-2500 is easy to operate; multiple list charts come in handy where we may be flat one minute and then 1, 2 or 3 degrees off the next move around these pier caps.”

The next section was the shortest, being less than four miles in length; however, it was also the most complicated, according to Archer Western – Herzog. “Taking into account the existing right of way from the other rail companies, crossing multiple bridges (both over and under) and manoeuvring around existing utilities to form foundations for the piers in spots where the rail is elevated – this stretch north of downtown kept us busy,” commented Joseph Coke, quality control inspector for Archer Western – Herzog.

The company was tasked with placing four 68 ft (20.7 m) long, 120,000 lb (54431 kg) concrete box beams below an eight-lane highway and above an active Union Pacific rail line. For this the rail line was closed between 4am and 8am. “The beams had to be set in about two-and-a-half hours so the contactor could come in and pull the boards off the rails,” said Williams.

In addition to the tight time frame, Williams and Davis Crane Service had a tight margin of room in which to work. “We worked together to lift up, suck in, boom up and track back so that we could clear the caps to get the booms set because we had probably 5 or 6 foot of head clearance on top by the time we got the beams on top of the caps,” Williams added. “It was a really tight fit, and I didn’t have a whole lot of room to manoeuvre back and forth on my end. That’s why we put the bigger crane on my side so that I could reach across the tracks and grab the beams. The TCC-1100 had a little bit more room to move back and forth if needed. Pretty much once I got down in there I could only travel about 10 feet forward and backwards.”

Despite the challenges, Davis Motor Crane Service completed the work safely and on time.

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