Lexington, KY – As part of New York State Canal Corporation’s emergency repair program, construction is complete on Erie Canal Lock E-7 in Niskayuna, New York. Maintenance and repairs were finalized prior to May 15, 2021 when navigation season of the Erie Canal begins.

D.A. Collins Companies (D.A. Collins) of Wilton, New York used their 200-ton (181-mt) Link-Belt 248 HYLAB 5 lattice crawler crane and 275-ton (250-mt) Link-Belt ATC-3275 all-terrain crane for refurbishment of the lock’s key components – valves, gates, electrical, and concrete basin.

Following installation of sheet piling and draining the lock with a coffer dam, DA Collins lowered the 248 HYLAB 5 crane down into the dry lock to lift, remove, and position the 100,000 lb. (45 359 kg) lock gates for repairs.

Tracks, carbody, and lattice boom sections of the 248 HYLAB were lowered (and lifted back out at the conclusion) using D.A. Collins’ ATC-3275 all-terrain crane. The 248 HYLAB rested on timber planks over a group of 7 ft. (2.1 m) tall Flexifloat barges that rose if prolonged rainfall flooded the lock.

For operation inside the lock, the 248 HYLAB 5 was outfitted with 90 ft. (27.4 m) of boom to ensure proper motion of the lock gates when they were lifted and moved for maintenance. Steel ramps on either side of the centered floating barge allowed the 248 HYLAB 5 to navigate the full length of the base floor of the lock. Anything beyond the perimeter of the lock footprint, the ATC-3275 was used to reach from above with its full boom and attachment. 

According to D.A. Collins crane operator Bill Staley, because of the ATC-3275’s long 223 ft. (67.9 m) reach and lift capability, he could reach any of the 45 ft. (13.7 m) wide by 328 ft. (99.9 m) long lock easily.

“This was the first time we had lifted our 248 into and out of a lock, so we communicated with our Link-Belt dealer, CRW Corp. of Williston, Vermont to get correct information on the lifting points and recommended rigging needed to lift the house of the crane (main transport load) properly. We used rigging custom-made for the lift. It consisted of 16.8 ft. (5.1 m) long slings supporting 22,000 lbs. ( 9 979 kg) each for the rear legs attached by the rear drum and 12.6 ft. (3.8 m) long slings supporting 55,000 lbs. (24 947 kg) each for the front legs attached inside by the cab and live mast,” explained Staley.

Crane tracks were about 38,000 lbs (17 236 kg) apiece, and the rigged main crane body weighed 83,500 lbs (37 874 kg), and was lifted at a 36 foot radius while having a 67 degree boom angle, with 103.4 feet of boom out in the EM6 mode. The 40,000 lb (18 143 kg) Flexifloat barges were one of the last lifts hoisted by the Link-Belt rig out of the dry chamber.