New South Wales, Projects

Borger Cranes heavy lifts in bridge construction project

Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services recently completely a series of heavy lifts on the upgrade $178 million upgrade of the Pacific Highway in Lisarow. Borger Cranes’ technical supervisor and heavy lift specialist Jon Gibbin explains that a key feature of the upgrade is the new rail bridge across the main Sydney to Newcastle rail line and how Borger Cranes deployed its 600-tonne capacity Liebherr LR1600 to complete the lifts.

Gibbin has been in cranes and rigging for over 30 years and has a wealth of experience in heavy lifting, both offshore, onshore, in the oil and gas sector, and mining – basically anywhere heavy lifting is required. He’s been with Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services for three years. 

“I look after the wind division, so I tender and quote for all the wind farm projects around Australia,” he said. 

“I go to the site and project manage, and then finalise everything for the customer handover. I have the same role with major projects like the Pacific Highway upgrade at Lisarow and anything involving the Liebherr LR1600 or the CC2800 or other large capacity cranes.”

The project is the second phase of the upgrade at that section of the Pacific Highway. Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services completed the first section last year, deploying its CC2800. The recent lifts were completed with the LR1600 narrow track crane, and the last section of the project included the placement six beams. These were managed with a dual lift with a 400t capacity all terrain. Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services was working for the principle civil contractor, Daracon.

“Daracon were the civil construction company for the project. They are an excellent company to work alongside. I’ve worked with them a couple of times previously. They’re very much like Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services: a family-owned business with the same sort of values about planning the job properly, trying to complete the project on time and under budget,” said Gibbin.

“As a result of the meticulous planning, we finished that project a shift and a half early, so it went together very well. There were a lot of site meetings on the job site itself, not only in the boardroom.

The LR1600 was ideally suited for this type of work and the Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services crew are dedicated to the heavy lift side of the business.

Nathan Borger and myself attended three or four meetings on site to meet up with the site crew and go through everything to make sure the measurements were totally accurate, the lift studies were right, all the weights of the beams were correct. When we got to the job site, we built the crane and executed the project very efficiently. 

“The LR1600 had 190t of counterweight on the back for the first beam that went in, which was the heaviest at 83t. The crane didn’t need the super lift tray for that lift because the first beam was the closest to the crane itself.

“From then, we had to use the super lift tray. We went to the opposite end of the bridge to the first girder. There were 21 beams in total along that section. We put the first beam in with the walkway across, so we could actually access both sides of the rail corridor. We then came across and started at the opposite end. With the first of seven beams we had 200t on the super lift tray,” said Gibbin.

“For the next four beams, we had 150t on the tray. This happened in three shifts, which was the Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning shift, and that opened up the rail corridor because it had protection over the top.

“We then completed the lifts of the final six beams with dual lifts involving the Grove GMK 6400 400t capacity all terrain. The LR 1600 needed 200t on the super lift tray for the first two beams and then dropped down to 160t for the last four beams.”

The LR 1600/2 was originally designed as a crane for wind power. In addition to the standard version, a version with narrow crawler track, known as the LR 1600/2-W includes a main feature that enables it to travel along narrow crawlers roads in wind farms considerably more easily than the standard version.

Initially, the LR 1600/2 was delivered in its SL4DFB configuration, designed for wind turbines with a hub height of 130 to 135m. In this configuration, the crane had a main boom of 138m and a fixed jib of 12m. This was the benchmark for turbines with a hub height of 135m.

The project was the second phase of the $178 million upgrade of the Pacific Highway at Lisarow.

Over the next few years, however, the size of wind turbines increased dramatically up to hub heights of 150m or more. This altered the requirements for the crane, which the designers at Liebherr followed closely. 

The lifting capacities and hoisting heights of the boom systems were continuously modified with the SL10, SL14, and SL13 versions, which became established on the market. These booms enabled the crane to handle wind turbines with hub heights of 150m.

However, the LR 1600/2 was not just used for wind power, it was also used in industry and for infrastructure projects shortly after the first one was delivered to its customer. Often equipped with a ballast wagon or suspended ballast, the 600t crane impressed users with its lifting capacity. 

Over the years, Liebherr unveiled more innovations for its crawler crane portfolio, such as the B2 guide and VarioTray for suspended ballast, which eliminates the complicated stacking and unstacking of ballast slabs by simply disconnecting a whole ballast pallet.

Gibbin explains how the LR1600 was lifting in terms of radius.

“The first beam that we picked up, we actually picked it off the back of the truck and had a radius of 30m, and installed it at 26m,” he said.

“We did the same with the next four beams, which we picked up off the truck and at 30m. We then slew around with the beam itself and picked up the super lift tray. We then installed those beams at 47m. Then, obviously, as we went along that row of beams, the radius got shorter to around about 43.5m to 43m install radius,” he said.

The LR1600 was ideally suited for this type of work, said Gibbin, and the Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services crew are dedicated to the heavy lift side of the business.

“The lifts were similar to the year before when we deployed the CC2800, which is also a 600t crawler. With the radiuses as they were, that was the choice of crane. It had the reach, the capacity, and everything else to go with it. Erika Huang, our draughtsperson at Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services, worked tirelessly generating and changing the lift studies for the project.

“The crew for the LR1600 has a lot of heavy lift experience and it is the same for the riggers with that crane as well; they’ve got a lot of a heavy lift background.

The crew included dayshift operator Rob Cooney, dayshift rigger Tierney Muller, nightshift operator Glenn Ryan, nightshift riggers Troy Gallagher and Steve Bozic, and nightshift supervisor Adam Little. 

“One of the riggers on the job, Shaun Tweedie, is only young, he’s in his early 20s, but he’s been right through the Borger apprenticeship program, and he’s worked on that crane as well ever since we bought it. I received an email from the project manager saying how great his attitude and skill set were and how he’s an asset to Borger Crane Hire and Rigging Services. 

“That’s the good thing about our approach to the next generation coming through. We are not frightened to give them responsibility and the older team members are happy to mentor guys like Shaun and share their knowledge and experience,” said Gibbin.

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