Luxembourg-based company ATS Cranes has deployed its Liebherr LTM 1650-8.1 and LTM 1300-6.3 for a series of dual lifts on the Pont Berchem bridge construction.
Completing the lifts for a widening project on the A3 that connects Luxembourg and France, the company – a branch of Germany-based Steil Kranarbeiten – was contracted to lift five bridge girders weighing 87 to 92 tonnes each. Complicating matters further was the fact that the 85m bridge did not have supporting pillars which made the task at hand difficult, according to Operations Manager at ATS Cranes Frederic Kleinhans.
“Using our cranes, we had to turn the five girders by 90 degrees before installation and then set them down on the abutments,” he said. “For this purpose, the position of the two mobile cranes were planned to the centimetre, because the 90 degrees slewing and placement on the abutments had to be done in one operation.”
The LTM 1650-8.1, which is only around 15 months old, was the primary crane for the night-time work on the Pont Berchem bridge. With a boom length of 45.3m, a 17.5m radius and 180 tonnes of ballast, it carried the main load. The LTM 1300-6.3 was ballasted with 94 tonnes and its boom was extended to 29.4m with a radius of 15.3m. Both cranes were operated by seasoned professionals according to ATS, because with the slewing process in particular – during which the 87 and 92-tonne steel girders were ‘swung through’ only centimetres from the cranes’ luffing cylinders – demanded concentration and precision work.
Because of their spectacular-yet-complex nature, ATS used its own computer-aided-design software, taking into account the environmental footprint, overhangs, payloads, start and end radius, and the ground pressure around the Pont Berchem bridge construction site. Based off of these designs, options for different set-up configurations and boom combinations were calculated and visualised to confirm what set-up would be the most efficient.
“We couldn’t afford to do any measurement work on site at night due to the narrow time windows,” Kleinhans said. “Our client Eiffage Perrard could only close the A3 completely for as short a time as possible, so everything had to run meticulously.”
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Underlining the efficiency of the operation was the set-up time and configuration of the machines around the Pont Berchem bridge construction site. The LTM 1300-6.3 was positioned on the construction site a few days before the lift, while the ATS team had to erect and ballast the LTM 1650-8.1 on site on the evening of the first lift – a task that was completed in two hours.
Kleinhans praised the enormous commitment of the ATS Cranes crew, which lifted the last girder into position at 3am on Sunday morning after commencing the operation earlier that weekend.