It’s April, and that means baseball season is about to be in full swing. But long before the teams take to the fields for the 2017 season, baseball venues around the country have been prepping for the first pitch.
In October 2016, owners of Yankee Stadium – built in 2009 and located in The Bronx in New York City – revealed a host of planned improvements for the 2017 season, including the new Sunrun Kids Clubhouse, which features a mini-baseball field and Yankees-themed playground equipment. Other improvements include new food and drink locations, party decks and the new AT&T Sports Lounge, a sports-bar like facility on the main concourse near left field. The goal of the improvements was to add social gathering spaces overlooking the visitor’s and the Yankee’s bullpens.
Hunter Roberts Construction was named general contractor for the construction of the new amenities, which involved demolishing several rows of concrete bleachers. Hunter Roberts hired Rite-Way Demolition, based in Flushing, NY for the demolition work. In December 2016, Able Rigging Contractors of Deer Park, NY won the contract from Rite-Way to assist with the removal of the heavy and cumbersome beams and pre-cast concrete bleachers.
The right crane
Able’s team rigged, hoisted and lowered the pre-cast concrete bleachers onto trucks and then transported them to the scrap yard where they were unloaded and recycled. Able performed this work utilizing its Link-Belt 3275-ATC all-terrain crane.
“Due to its size, load capacity and outstanding reach, we determined the Link-Belt was the right crane for the job compared to similar sized machines,” said Robert LaChapelle, vice president and master rigger for Able. “We had to take into consideration travel height to gain field access. The crane’s unique low profile left a couple of inches of headroom to spare as it traveled on the ramp under the bleachers.”
Able’s fleet of trucks and trailers were used to transport the bleachers as well as the pre-cast panels, beams and columns that were dismantled and hoisted down for removal.
The crane was rigged with 147 feet of boom with approximately 156,500 pounds of counterweight. The maximum gross load was approximately 30,000 pounds at a 105-foot maximum radius. For the bleacher removal, a spreader bar was used to level out the load.
To protect the outfield grass surface, interlocking composite plastic plates were installed for the crane to sit on for the lifts.
The original pre-cast bleachers were up to 42 feet long and weighed as much as 27,000 pounds. Crane placement and hoisting was a challenge due to current stadium signage in both left and right fields and the location of the top row of bleachers. Able’s crews would need to determine how to remove the top row of bleachers without disturbing or damaging any of the existing signage.
The solution was to install wide flange rigging beams and place them under the top bleacher row, supporting it with steel frame and timber blocking, which was placed under the beams, with the blocking sitting on bleacher rows under the top row.
With the rigging beams in place, the top pre-cast bleacher row was then skated out from under the large existing stadium signage and subsequently lifted away by the Link-Belt 3275-ATC. Able’s team completed the work in just six days.