Liebherr fast-erector constructs museum

By Lindsey Anderson17 September 2012

A Liebherr 32 H crane is being used for its flexibility and space-saving qualities during constructi

A Liebherr 32 H crane is being used for its flexibility and space-saving qualities during construction of the Bicentennial Centre at the Central Cemetery in the Colombian capital of Bogota.

A Liebherr 32 H fast-erecting crane is being used at the renovation of Colombia's historic Central Cemetery in Bogota, where 200-year-old graves are being excavated and a museum and commemoration centre are being built to mark the bicentennial anniversary of the country attaining independence from Spain.

The Bicentennial Centre for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation is part of a scheme to restore and enlarge Independence Park, laid out in 1910 to commemorate the first anniversary of independence.

Much of the park was lost in the 1950s when the city authorities cut the Avenida El Dorado through the grounds to provide direct highway access to the airport, and building development encroached on most of the remaining land except for the cemetery.

Located on the eastern side of Bogota, near to the hills bordering the city, the Central Cemetery is divided into two sections, with the Bicentennial Centre being built in the smaller Sector B. Burials here go back at least 200 years, and with no headstones to mark the graves the site had become a neglected and overgrown field.

Construction of the Bicentennial Centre is being undertaken by Condorito Bicentenario, the consortium that is responsible for the new layout and buildings of the park. The consortium is renting the 32 H from Liebherr's exclusive distributor for Colombia, MCS Colgruas, on a 10-month agreement. The crane is handling the entire lifting operations for the three-storey high building, which also has an 8-m deep basement.

Condorito Bicentenario's finance director for the project, Roberto Mendez, says that the economics of the 32 H made it a natural choice for the project.

"This is a long, narrow structure, about 100 m by 25 m," he said. "We have placed the crane at a recessed area where there will be an entrance to the auditorium on one side and public areas on the other. From there, we are able to service the lifting needs. If we decide that we need to move the crane for better access, then it is a very quick and easy job to do. But essentially this is very much a space-saving crane."

We could have used a small-sized tower crane, but it would not have had the same flexibility, and we possibly would have had problems with the jib flying over the Carrera 22 highway that is adjacent to the site. Checking the specifications with MCS Colgruas, we could see that the 20-degree raised jib working position kept us within our boundary and at the same time gave us all the lift we wanted."

The 32 H has a maximum hook height of 22 m, a boom of 30 m, and can lift up to 4 t.

Mr Mendez says that the Bicentennial Centre will have a large museum depicting the way of life of people who lived in Bogota in the earlier era, based on discoveries from the graves.

The Central Cemetery excavations are believed to be the largest archaeological dig currently being undertaken in Latin America, with a team of more than 20 archaeologists and anthropologists supported by the laboratories of the National University.

The remains of some 2,000 burials dating from at least 1800 through to 1970, the date of the final interments, have been analysed and removed.

Amongst the human remains have been found hundreds of objects that also went into the graves, including photographs, clothing, accessories, books and even dentures. The researchers are now creating a reference collection that in addition to the way in which people lived will build up information such as the diet of the citizens, their illnesses and life expectancy.

This part of the Central Cemetery was traditionally used by the most humble inhabitants of the capital, and burials range from traditional graves to mass graves, probably used in cases of epidemics.

The project is being led by the District Government Secretariat to commemorate 200 years of Colombia's independence from Spain.

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