A 5.4km viaduct will be built on columns rising out from the Indian Ocean and withstanding 90mph (144km/h) hurricane winds and waves of up to 10m. The new 12.3km highway represents France’s most expensive road and it will have three lanes in each direction.

Two Potain MD 485B M20s, two MDT 368 As, one MD 560 B, a Potain k5-50C, a Manitowoc 12000E-1 crawler crane, seven Grove all-terrain cranes and two Grove rough-terrain cranes are working on the island. Installation of the Potain cranes was completed in September last year, including setting up and erecting the jibs. The 16 cranes were supplied by contractors Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bouygues TP, who own some of the units and Grues Levages Investissements (GLI). GLI is Manitowoc’s official French dealer for the Reunion Island, Mayotte and Mauritius and has invested heavily in supplying top quality cranes for this project.

Christophe Simoncelli, Manitowoc vice president of sales for Western Europe and French speaking Africa explains, explains that this colossal project faces many challenges because the structure is being built on a maritime site. Manitowoc has provided exceptional crane solutions in addition to a proactive approach. "Potain was selected because it is the world’s leading tower crane brand with a long track record of success," says Simoncelli.

"The compact Grove cranes were chosen for their excellent on-site flexibility while the Manitowoc 12000E-1 crawler crane provides outstanding maneuverability as it can be extended and retracted as well as its ease of use and low maintenance requirements. In addition, GLI has provided the highest quality cranes coupled with outstanding service and has been a key factor to the success of this project."

The Potain MD 485B M20 is a 20t capacity top-slewing tower crane, with an 80 m jib. The crane has been fitted with a 60m boom and is working at a height of 45 m. The MDT 368 A is the largest of the topless MDT range with a maximum jib length of 75 m while the MD 560 B is a 25 t capacity tower crane and can lift up to 5.4 t at jib end. The Potain k5-50C is a 20t capacity tower crane with a 60 m jib length. The Manitowoc 12000E-1 is a 110t capacity crawler crane and is equipped with a 70 m boom. The Grove all-terrain cranes on the project include the GMK2035, GMK3060, GMK4080-1, GMK 5130-2, GMK4100L, GMK3055 and GMK5220 with lifting capacity from 35 t to 220 t. The two rough-terrain cranes on the jobsite are the RT540E and an RT760E. The RT540E is equipped with a 9.8-31 m four-section full power boom while the RT760E offers a 55 t maximum capacity.

The coastal highway was designed to replace the existing road built at the foot of a cliff that links the commercial port of Pointe des Galets to the capital Saint-Denis and the Roland Garros international airport. Currently, the road is forced to close up to 40 times a year due to landslides and waves.

The cranes will remain on the project for two years.