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Testa Utilizes Grove GMK7550 Crane for Specialized Demolition on Big Dig

Wed June 16, 2004 - Northeast Edition

Elevated highways in Boston, MA, are being torn down and replaced with tree-lined avenues and parks. One of Grove’s flagship units is helping make this idea become a reality months earlier than expected.

A 550-ton (450 t) heavy-lift GMK7550 all-terrain crane from Grove is allowing contractor Testa Corp. to use its combined skills in demolition and craneage to demolish 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) of elevated highway in the heart of Boston.

Testa, working for contractors JF White and Modern Continental, is responsible for the demolition and removal of the elevated highway that consisted of 100,000 tons (90,000 t) of steel and 75,000 cu. yd. (57,000 cu m) of concrete. Testa began work on the $40-million contract in December 2003 and has made rapid progress, hoping to complete the project, well ahead of the autumn scheduled end-date.

The problem with demolition on this site is that the elevated structure cannot simply be smashed and hauled away. It must be taken apart piece by piece, sliced up high in the air, painted to keep lead from becoming airborne and hosed down to minimize dust.

To help with this mammoth task, Testa, run by Steven Testa, has invested in a GMK7550, supplied by Shawmut Equipment. It is not just its 550-ton (450 t) maximum lift capacity or 420 ft. (16 m) of reach that was attractive to the company, but also its ability to move quickly around the site doing heavy and long picks — and the fact that it fits into tight spots.

The seven-axle all-terrain crane features a five-section, U-shaped Megaform boom, which extends from 52 to 197 ft. (128 to 60 m) and offers maximum tip height of 206 ft. (63 m). The tip height can be further extended to 420 ft. (128 m) with luffing jib attached.

“To have 420 feet of reach on a mobile crane incredible,” said John Ruffo, Testa vice president.

Testa also is now retrofitting the Mega Wing Lift attachment, which allows increased capacities of up to 60 percent in some configurations. Two tensioning supports on either side at the base of the boom form an angle of 50 degrees and the higher the boom is luffed, the greater improvement in lifting capabilities.

The adaptability of the GMK7550 means that the crane is used daily and in a variety of applications.

“We’ve even used it to assemble a 300-ton Manitowoc model 2250 on the Charles River on a raft of ’flexifloats’ doing 30-ton to 40-ton lifts,” said Ruffo. “The GMK7550 has pushed us weeks — if not months — ahead of schedule.”

With the Grove GMK7550’s help, substantial completion of the Big Dig is scheduled for May 2005 and the residents can reclaim the city from the motor car.

“2003 was the year of the tunnels, 2004 is the year of demolition and restoration and 2005 will be the year of the parks,” said Michael Lewis, Big Dig project director.

For more information, call 717/593-5348.