A view of one of the Link-Belt 298HSL cranes picking a pile.
Over the past two years, The Middlesex Corporation of Littleton, Mass., has been awarded $350 million in contracts for three major jobs in Massachusetts and Connecticut alone. The Route 9 Kenneth F. Burns bridge over Lake Quinsigamond spanning Shrewsbury, Mass., to Worcester, Mass.; the New Britain Bus Way covering 5.8 mi. (9.3 km) from Newington, Conn., to Hartford, Conn.; and most recently the I-95 bridge from New Haven, Conn., to West Haven, Conn., carrying traffic over the West River.
On the site of the I-95 bridge project in West Haven, Middlesex currently has a fleet of approximately 20 pieces of equipment at work, made up of primarily Caterpillar, Komatsu and John Deere machines. The lifting equipment fleet at this site consists of Link-Belt cranes, including two Link-Belt 298HSL 250-ton (227 t) lattice crawler cranes and a Link-Belt RTC8080 Series II rough-terrain crane. In fact, most of Middlesex’s crane fleet consists of Link-Belt, which are serviced and maintained by Woods CRW, North Oxford, Mass.
A Relationship Years in the Making
The relationship between Woods CRW and The Middlesex Corporation began in 1999 with the purchase of a 23 ton (20.8 t) Simon boom truck, which, according to Steve Shattuck, garage superintendent of Middlesex, “Continues to operate flawlessly to this day.”
The relationship has grown to the point where today The Middlesex Corporation has eight Link-Belt cranes in its fleet. Why Link-Belt? Shattuck answered, “Because we spend less money repairing them than any other machines in our fleet. We have really grown to know and appreciate the Link-Belt machines, but even more importantly, the people, service and support we receive from Woods CRW.
“When I call Joe Bacarri, the service manager at Woods CRW, I usually don’t even need to have the parts book and manual in front of me because he knows the Link-Belt machines inside and out. They always have standard items in stock. If I need non-inventory parts, which is unusual, we receive them very promptly. As an example, we recently identified the need for some special crane cable and I was not able to notify Woods CRW until Saturday afternoon. By 9:30 a.m. on Monday the cable was in and Woods people were on our site assisting with installation.
Not long ago, Middlesex ran into a problem while working on a project on Martha’s Vineyard with another one of its Link-Belt 298HSL cranes. Despite the fact that this crane had not been purchased from Woods CRW, the company took parts and pieces off of a Link-Belt 298HSL that was in its inventory and brought them to Martha’s Vineyard to keep Middlesex operating, according to Shattuck.
“On this particular job we are really appreciating our new Link-Belt 298HSL crawler crane,” said Shattuck. “The operators are very comfortable with the cab; the machine has been a workhorse that gives us little or no downtime; and extremely important in this type of job, the visibility from the cab is very good. Right now the crane is making piling picks that weigh about 80,000 pounds, effortlessly. The pilings are being driven in a timely manner.”
The $130 million I-95 bridge project began on Feb. 18, 2014, and is scheduled for completion in November 2018. The bridge itself is 1,200 ft. (366 m) long and 98 ft. (30 m) wide, plus the construction of entrances and exit ramps to the bridge.
The project includes the creation of extensive drainage systems 100 ft. (30.5 m) below the project. A bypass system had to be created for a sewage system, which was handling 30 million gallons of sewage a day. Old ramps and infrastructure from the old bridge system also have to be removed; 73,000 sq. ft. (6,782 sq m) of trestle is being handled, each 24-in. (61 cm) in diameter and 100-ft. (30.5 m) long; 1,000 prestressed concrete piles in excess of 90-ft. (27 m) in length and 16-in. square (103 sq cm) are being driven, each pick with the weight of the hammer and lead is in excess of 125,000 lbs. (56,700 kg).
Four steel sheeting cofferdams are being created; 13,079 cu. yds. (10,000 cu m) of material is being clamshell excavated, all of which must be removed from the site and be tested for contamination before it can be brought back to the site for re-use. All water that is being pumped out from the site must be pumped into a settlement tank and then hauled to East Haven, where it is treated and then pumped into the New Haven sewage treatment plant. It is anticipated that 6.4 million gallons of water will be treated in this manner.
The new bridge also must be constructed in a way that no lane is ever lost in either direction. Construction workers are on site 24-hours a day.
Tom Wood, the project manager said, “It is in stressful environments like this that the Link-Belt cranes shine. They are more dependable and require less maintenance than other cranes. The cranes offer a tremendous ease of movement. Their charts are good and our operators like them. Before making the purchase, we met with Woods CRW and discussed our specs and their support. It is important to us to be reassured that the manufacturer of a crane is on board in supporting us and comfortable with the demands that we are specking the crane for.”
Also on the site is a recently purchased Link-Belt RTC8080 Series II rough-terrain crane. This 80-ton (72.5 t) crane serves as a support crane and services the ironworkers on site. Its maneuverability on wheels allows it to be easily moved from one end of the bridge to the other. To move it to another job site is easy as well in just two loads; just drop the counterweight slabs on the deck and then load out on trailer.
The crane has 127-ft. (39 m) of full power boom and is pilot operated with hydraulic controls. It has 18,500 lb. (8,391 kg) max winch line pull, and a 230-ft. (70 m) maximum tip height, with optional jib and extensions.
The 250-ton (227 t) Link-Belt 298HSL features the HSL counterweight removal system — all counterweight is in the back and is released with hydraulic controllers to the ground, a feature unique to Link-Belt. The cranes also are equipped with third drums and upper guardrails, which allow for individuals to be on top of the machine with ground rail protection. They also are equipped with double tapered boom connecting pins, which allows for installation and removal from outside of the boom.
For more information, visit Woods CRW at www.woodscrw.com; visit The Middlesex Corporation at www.middlesexcompanies.com.