Lexington, KY – Middlesex Corporation of Littleton, Massachusetts recently purchased a 150-ton (136.08-mt) 238 HSL lattice crawler crane from Wood’s CRW Corp. The crane has gone to work on Interstate 95 near the West River Bridge in New Haven, Connecticut, as part of an ongoing project to widen Interstate 95 by over 40 ft. (12.1 m) over the West River, a key connection for those traveling between New York and Boston.

At this time, bridge and highway approaches are completed, with remaining work being dismantlement of a cloverleaf ramp previously used for accessing Interstate 95 at Exit 44 in West Haven. In order to demolish the old elevated ramp, Middlesex Corporation is using their new 238 HSL along with their 238 H5 to drive piling over tidal wetlands to
create work platforms for demolition. Up to 110 ft. (33.5 m) tall, 24 in. (61 cm) in diameter and ½ in. thick pipe pile support the temporary trestle. Operator Mark Balboni drives piling in two sections with shorter, 50 ft. (15.2 m) piling going first. Templates fabricated by Middlesex with cross bracing to support any lateral movement are used to guide the pile plum with a vibratory hammer. The second section is then spliced to the first, and a diesel ICE 60S hammer takes over; driving the pile to 525,000 lbs. Minimum tip elevation is for lateral support, and requires two piles just feet from each other, and four total piles between 80 foot long sections. Refusal specifications vary due to soil conditions, which include bedrock, fractured bedrock, and glacial till.

“We have a total of 21 bents and we’re working two bents at a time. That includes driving the 24 inch pile, a steel cap plate welded on top of the piles, and a double header beam bolted to the top of the plate. Then with all beams in place, timber crane mats measuring 30 feet long are bolted to be five feet wide and placed on top for crane movement with the loads,” explained Marine Superintendent for Middlesex Corporation, Rick Ronan.

With completion of the work platforms, demolition begins. Removed girder sections weigh up to 34,000 lbs. (15 422 kg), while lighter loads are cut off existing concrete columns and removed, along with chunks of broken concrete footing sections. Up to 53,000 lb. (24 040 kg) concrete pier caps are removed at a 75 ft. (22.8 m) radius and swung 175 degrees to tractor trailers awaiting for local recycling.

“The 238 HSL is working out very well for us. This two and a half year West River Bridge project has had up to five Link-Belt crawler cranes working here. There were additional needs here where our 300-ton 348H5, several 250-ton 298 rigs, and a 218 Link-Belt crawler crane were being used,” said Ronan.

Service and Maintenance
Much of the bridge and barge work completed by Middlesex Corporation is completed in brackish or saltwater environments. In order to keep cranes well maintained and in good working order, Middlesex regularly maintains all pins and grease fittings on its cranes.

“Newer cranes have addressed some of these issues with fewer and fewer grease fittings. Link-Belt is using more and more sealed bearings and other methods to lubricate for certain locations or do away with altogether,” said Equipment Asset Manager at Middlesex Corporation, Mike Shea.

“The Link-Belt cranes have been dependable for us. Every machine needs continual maintenance, particularly in this environment. We’re a little bit rougher on our machines than normal because of our work around saltwater, doing pile driving, and coffer dam work. But, if you do the proper maintenance and look ahead to see what the machine is doing and take care of it, they keep on going. And Link-Belt and our distributor, Wood’s CRW work for us,” concluded Shea.