Liebherr’s R974 Excavator Begins Demolition of Philip Morris Plant

Fri October 26, 2007 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

On the morning of Aug. 13, Liebherr’s R974 B HD-EW crawler excavator took the first bite out of a Philip Morris Plant in Louisville, Ky. Prior to demolition, there was a “Dismantling Ceremony” attended by Mayor Jerry Abramson, Councilman David Tandy, various city officials, former Philip Morris employees and members of the community.

A crowd of more than 125 people listened as Mayor Abramson described the possibility for new economic growth in West Louisville.

The Philip Morris plant, located at 18th and Broadway, closed in 2000 and is being demolished to create The NewBridge Crossing Development, a new lifestyle community which will occupy approximately 23 acres (9.3 ha). The new community area will include office buildings, condominiums, retail space and restaurants.

NewBridge Development LLC, a subsidiary created by Louisville-based The Mardrian Group Inc. (TMG) and owned by Teresa and Frank Bridgewaters, will head up the development of the site.

Adjacent to the Philip Morris plant is an operational distillery, which imposes inherent risks when razing an 8-story building.

Liebherr’s R974 B Heavy Duty, Extra-Wide (HD-EW) Crawler Excavator was brought in from the manufacturing plant in France to handle the primary demolition of the Philip Morris plant. With an effective operating height of 135 ft. (41 m), the Liebherr R974 excavator can start from the top of the building and control the demolition to ensure the safety of all parties involved.

Liebherr’s R974 B HD-EW demolition excavator has an operating weight of 270,800 lbs. (122,800 kg) and boasts 537 hp (400 kW). The 30 degree tiltable cab and cameras placed to view the attachment and the area behind the machine provide maximum visibility for the operator. Built with D9G track components, the Liebherr machine has more durable undercarriage components than a standard build excavator. These components allow the Liebherr to handle the additional force of working 135 ft. from the base of the machine.

Recycling is an important aspect of this project. Euro Dismantling Services (EDS) of Great Britain, one of the world’s largest demolition companies, was contracted to help dismantle the Philip Morris buildings. EDS has agreed to deduct the value of all the salvageable material from the cost of the project. Materials such as concrete, glass, steel, aluminum, brass and copper can add up to almost two-thirds the cost of the entire demolition project. Before razing began, Habitat for Humanity was given salvageable material such as wood floors and concrete.

The demolition of the plant should be completed before the end of the year. The new development is planned to be finished before 2010.

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