The Fremont Bridge, which opened on July 4, 1917, required seismic retrofitting and upgrading, including the replacement of the existing approaches. The work was no easy matter: As one of only six Lake Washington ship canal bridges linking the northern end of Seattle to downtown, the Fremont bridge, standingjust 30 feet above the water, rises for marine traffic on an average of 35 times per day, making it one of the busiest bascule drawbridges in the world.

In explaining the choice of the Seattle-based crane company for the demandingjob, Meredith Daniels, Fremont Bridge project manager for Mowat Construction, explained, “Sicklesteel continues to lead the industry by providing experienced lift coordinators, talented and certified crane operators, professional engineering staff, and the broadest range of equipment available in the Pacific Northwest.”

Indeed, since the inception of CCO crane operator certification, Sicklesteel Cranes, under the leadership of company president Thom Sicklesteel, has been a strong supporter of the program developed and administered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). Sicklesteel operators began taking the CCO written examinations in 1996. For two years CCO certification has been a requirement for crane operators and mechanics.

Sicklesteel has more than 80 workers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The company, which has been providing professional lifting assistance in the Pacific Northwest since 1937, offers lifting capabilities up to 650 tons using a broad range of equipment.

Due to the complexity of the Fremont Bridge project, and the tight clearances on both approaches, Sicklesteel provided a lift coordinator to assist the primary contractor on the project from the planning stages through the implementation of the lift plan. The development of the lift plan took into consideration the restricted access and crane sizing by manipulating the sequence to provide maximize utilization and minimize cost while keeping safety a priority and allowing the operation of the bridge to continue.

Sicklesteel drew on the liftingpower of some of its larger hydraulic cranes to set the girders that weighed more than 190,000 pounds.

Cranes used in the operation included a 650 ton capacity Demag AC 1600, a 500 ton capacity Demag AC 1300, a 450 ton capacity Demag AC 1020, and a 280 ton capacity Demag 6155. The cranes provided both multiple and single crane lifts during this complex project, and helped the company complete each phase ahead of schedule and under budget.

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