A Maeda MC405 mini crane works on the expansion of a crucial San Francisco ferry terminal.

With a population of nearly one million people and continual urban growth, San Francisco is as bustling as it is beautiful. However, its status as both a coastal and densely inhabited city often make construction projects a unique challenge as workers must manage congested boulevards and smaller-scale jobsites.

Lead photo edited

Heavy piling and dock construction work is primarily being completed from the water using PEC’s floating equipment including material barges, derrick barges and flexi-float barges Photos: Power Engineering Construction (PEC)

Power Engineering Construction (PEC) is utilizing its Maeda MC405 mini crane on the expansion of the downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal’s South Basin. The small crane is predominately hoisting materials inside the very confined jobsite in the newly constructed plaza and promenade area, which is adjacent to the busy street side of Embarcadero.

Heavy piling and dock construction work is primarily being completed from the water using PEC’s fleet of floating equipment including material barges, derrick barges and sectional flexi-float barges. By utilizing waterside project mobilization, this prevents traffic interruptions and allows current ferry service to remain in operation during the entire course of the project.

According to the Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the company partnered with the Port of San Francisco to execute the project in support of the Implementation and Operations Plan, which calls for the expansion of ferry service throughout the San Francisco Bay area. In addition, this project will also aid WETA’s Emergency Water Transportation Management, which sets forth the framework for WETA’s emergency operations in the event of a regional disaster.

Master maneuvering

In the plaza and promenade area, lighter materials must be handled in the small and busy workspace, where materials are being staged, according to John Carpenter, sales and rental manager of Maeda USA.

“PEC’s Maeda MC405 excels in these conditions,” Carpenter said. “The rubber tracked Maeda mini crane is able to maneuver and position around materials, then hoist them into place for installation. In addition, multi-position outriggers make it possible to set up the MC405 for lifting in extremely tight spaces.”

By working directly within the plaza workspace, the busy adjacent Embarcadero roadway and pedestrian sidewalks remain open and unobstructed by larger cranes that would work from the perimeter. Roadway and sidewalk blockage are also prevented. The larger barge derricks were freed up to be utilized for the heavy lifting from the waterside.

Throughout the project, the MC405 is at work handling a variety of materials including rebar, steel concrete forms, granite and stone pieces and steps, according to Jeff Van Meter, PEC project manager.

“This project is sandwiched between historic buildings and the San Francisco Bay, which limits our laydown area,” Van Meter said. “Without much space for storage and staging materials, the small footprint and mobility of the crane is extremely beneficial. The compact size of the crane when traveling allows us to use it on all areas of the jobsite for a variety of tasks. Additionally, the rubber tracks limit the stress applied to the pier structure.”

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The Maeda MC405 can easily maneuver and position around materials, then hoist them into place for installation in the congested workspaces. 

Versatile and compact

The crane is also utilized for general cleanup of excess material on the jobsite once an area has been constructed. At the end of the workday, the MC405’s compact size allows it to be folded up and stored in a small area of the worksite, Carpenter said.

The machine is estimated to be on the job for approximately two to three more months until the project is completed.

PEC has also used this Maeda unit on other confined space and unique projects such as the rebuilding and refurbishment of the Alcatraz Landing area and emergency repair work at Moffett Field.

“This crane was originally purchased for its compact size, weight and mobility,” Van Meter said.

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By working within the plaza workspace, the Maeda crane can maneuver quickly and perform the required lifting.

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