Link-Belt crawlers for bridge project

6 June 2019

Middlesex Corporation of Littleton, Massachusetts, has sent its recently-purchased 150USt (136t) 238 HSL lattice crawler crane to work on Interstate 95 near the West River Bridge in New Haven, Connecticut.

This job is part of an ongoing project to widen Interstate 95 by over 40ft (12.1m) over the West River, a key connection for those travelling between New York and Boston.

At this time, bridge and highway approaches are completed, with remaining work being the dismantlement of a cloverleaf ramp previously used for accessing Interstate 95 at Exit 44 in West Haven.

In order to demolish the old elevated ramp, Middlesex Corporation has used its new 238 HSL along with their 238 H5 to drive piling over tidal wetlands, to create work platforms for demolition. Up to 110ft tall, 24in (61cm) in diameter and ½-inch thick pipe pile supports the temporary trestle. Operator Mark Balboni drives piling in two sections with shorter, 50ft piling going first.

Templates fabricated by Middlesex with cross bracing to support any lateral movement are used to guide the pile plum with a vibratory hammer. The second section is then spliced to the first, and a diesel ICE 60S hammer takes over, driving the pile to 525,000lbs. Minimum tip elevation is for lateral support, and requires two piles just feet from each other, and four total piles between 80ft long sections. Refusal specifications vary due to soil conditions, which include bedrock, fractured bedrock, and glacial till.

“We have a total of 21 bents and we’re working two bents at a time. That includes driving the 24-inch pile, a steel cap plate welded on top of the piles, and a double header beam bolted to the top of the plate. Then with all beams in place, timber crane mats measuring 30 feet long are bolted to be five feet wide and placed on top for crane movement with the loads,” said marine superintendent for Middlesex Corporation, Rick Ronan.

With completion of the work platforms, demolition began. Removed girder sections weigh up to 34,000lbs (15,422kg), while lighter loads are cut off existing concrete columns and removed, along with chunks of broken concrete footing sections. Up to 53,000lbs concrete pier caps are removed at a 75ft radius and swung 175° to tractor trailers, for local recycling.

“The 238 HSL is working out very well for us. This two-and-a-half year West River Bridge project has had up to five Link-Belt crawler cranes working here. There were additional needs here where our 300-ton 348H5, several 250-ton 298 rigs, and a 218 Link-Belt crawler crane were being used,” said Ronan.

Much of the bridge and barge work completed by Middlesex Corporation is completed in brackish or saltwater environments. In order to keep cranes well maintained and in good working order, Middlesex regularly maintains all pins and grease fittings on its cranes.