Two Terex Demag 500 cranes place the critical beams that comprise the I-70 bridge in Indianapolis

Two Terex Demag 500 cranes place the critical beams that comprise the I-70 bridge in Indianapolis

In the business of cranes and rigging, routine projects are often noteworthy. Such was the case in Indianopolis, IN back in June on the mammoth Interstate 70 reconstruction project. Contractor Walsh Construction, with the assistance of several subcontractors and engineers, put in place the feature pieces of the I-70 puzzle.

The new I-70 design called for an elevated roadway 53 fleet above the original roadbed to raise the line of sight to eliminate traffic slowing. The bridge is designed with three spans, each 134 fleet long. The beams that comprise each span weighed 70.85 tons. The critical issue was that the first span rises above a live railroad track owned by CSX Railroad. The railroad required a 50% safety factor as the nine beams were being placed, meaning that the cranes had to be rigged as if the beams weighed 106 tons each.

Randy Carson, sales representative for Maxim Crane Works, said the lift plan was designed around a lift of 114,000 pounds at a 79 foot radius to satisfy the railroad's requirements.

Other elements requiring precise engineering included ground bearing pressures and the strategic location of the two 500 ton Terex Demag cranes used to lift and place the beams.

Both cranes were rigged with 129 fleet of main boom and 269,000 pounds of counterweight with superlift attachments. One crane was positioned 43 fleet below on the existing roadbed while the other was positioned on a MSE engineered wall 53 fleet above ground.

The nine critical beams were placed on the first span without incident. After the first span was completed Maxim's operators could go back to assuming the beams were the actual 70,000 pounds.

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