Prison make

By John Wyatt04 March 2008

Each piece represented a double cell module that weighed approximately 27 tons and measured 10 feet

Each piece represented a double cell module that weighed approximately 27 tons and measured 10 feet tall by 15 feet wide by 17 feet, 5 inches long

Unusual name for a Midwest-based company, but Egyptian Concrete has been thriving in the Illinois and Missouri area since 1940. Its facilities in Salem, IL and Bonne Terre, MO make the company one of the go-to producers of prestressed and precast concrete products. It products include bridges – including box beams, I-beams and bulb-T beams – as well as box culverts, insulated and non-insulated wall panels, and other products for unique applications. Egyptian Concrete also produces modular and component prison cells. It was of no surprise that when Kane County Prison in St. Charles, IL needed two buildings and a connecting technical center that Egyptian secured the contract.

The contract, totaling $3.4 million, involved the manufacture, delivery and erection of 192 fully outfitted and finished precast concrete cell modules. The project was bid by Egyptian in the spring of 2006 and casting of the cells began in the winter of 2006-2007. The transport of the pieces was completed in mid-2007.

“We transported and erected 96 pieces,” says Rich Cooper, senior product manager and civil engineer for Egyptian. Each piece represented a double cell module that weighed approximately 27 tons, and measured 10 feet tall by 15 feet wide by 17 feet, 5 inches long.

The prison cells were transported on two-axle step deck trailers due to height restrictions. Cooper says the maximum the company prefers to haul on its Transcraft-manufactured trailers is in the ballpark of 28 tons.

“We were required to get overweight and overwidth permits in the state of Illinois,” he says. “We also had to have one escort since the load was 15 feet wide. The loads were chained down and a structural steel angle was run across the truck bed to support the front wall of the cell.”

Although the more direct route would have been more or less straight up the state's Interstate 57, the load that Egyptian was hauling was overweight and oversized, thus not permitted by Illinois' officials because of bridge road construction and restrictions. Instead, the route spanned more than 300 miles each way, requiring travel on three different expressways and state routes for the five-hour plus trip.

“The logistics with delivering around 16 loads a day to a point 300 miles away from our plant was challenging,” says Cooper. Since each load was overwidth escorted, they could only travel during daylight hours. Once the loads arrived into Kane County, travel was restricted between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fortunately, the job site conditions for the facilities were good. General manager M.A. Mortensen was responsible for access roads and crane mats, which made the transport and traffic easier in and out.

“The haul road consisted of a one-foot thick compacted gravel road approximately 20 feet wide,” says Cooper. “A good haul road is very important when transporting these types of loads. The crane sat on one feet thick compacted stone,” says Cooper.

Cell stacking

A Liebherr 1300 crane was supplied by Area Erectors, of Rockford, IL. The crane has a capacity of 77,000 pounds at a 120 foot radius. Although the crane was owned by Area Erectors, the erection of cells was done by Concrete Erectors, based in Altamonte Springs, FL. The cells were stacked five stories high in each of the two separate units, Buildings A and B. A low level facility that connects both was also built.

“The whole thing was a challenge,” says Area Erector's Estimator Dennis Holtman. “When we first looked at it, there were lots of blocks in the design. We changed a lot of the masonry to precast just to increase the schedule and make production go faster. Otherwise, we'd have to put up a few panels then do masonry and then more panels, and so on.”

Cooper says a job of this size always has challenges, claiming the coordination alone between subcontractors and the end users ensure that everything is correctly cast in the precast units. The 96 pieces were erected in six days and was completed last fall.

Delivered directly to your inbox, World Crane Week Newsletter features the pick of the breaking news stories, product launches, show reports and more from KHL's world-class editorial team.
Latest News
Manitex International releases latest financial results
The company’s net sales in the second quarter increased 15.9 percent to $69.6 million. 
First Potain to USA
First Potain MDT 489 in North America goes to Compass Equipment
Berard hauls historic WWII torpedo boat
Moving the USS Sudden Jerk and other artifacts was an especially rewarding job for Berard Transport. 
D.Ann Shiffler Editor, American Cranes & Transport Tel: +1 512 869 8838 E-mail:
Matt Burk VP Sales Tel: +1 312 496 3314 E-mail: