Historic Minneapolis bridge gets makeover with crane power

July 18, 2016

With thousands of bridge construction projects under its belt, and with the largest fleet of crawler cranes in North America, the ALL Family of Companies has become a trusted partner for complex jobs. Dawes Rigging & Crane Rental, ALL’s four-location presence in Wisconsin, is providing five big crawlers for a high-profile project in nearby Minneapolis, Minn.

The majestic Franklin Avenue Bridge, which carries Franklin over the Mississippi River, is undergoing a major $50 million rehabilitation project, including design changes to help restore it to a more historically correct interpretation of its original design. When it was completed in 1923, this 1,054-ft structure’s central span was the longest concrete arch in the world. Formally known as the F. W. Cappelen Memorial Bridge, it was named after one of the original designers, Norwegian-born Frederick William Cappelen, a former Minneapolis city engineer.

Last year, the bridge’s below-deck concrete was rehabilitated while precast bridge deck panels were manufactured for the top, with the average piece weighing 80,000 pounds and the heaviest coming in at 200,000 pounds and 76 feet long. The old bridge deck was removed, and the structure was readied to receive the new deck—lifting a total of 365 old and new panels.

Dawes’ Elk Mound, Wis., location has been planning the concrete deck panel lifts for more than a year. Working with job subcontractor Kraemer North America, they planned to lift and set the concrete segments using five of ALL’s large-capacity crawler cranes—three Manitowoc 16000s (440 USt/400 mt), equipped with the standard 275 ft of boom, and two Manitowoc 2250s (300 USt/272 mt), with the standard 190 ft of boom.

The mighty Mississippi has even played a role in this project. All but one of the crawlers were floated downriver on a barge to the jobsite, one by one, and then positioned on the banks on both sides of the river (the fifth crawler was built on site). The concrete deck segments were also floated downriver to the work area.

The 16000s began work in April, while the 2250s arrived in May, each handling individual lifts of the deck segments.

“The modern cranes that we have, the service we provide, and the depth of our fleet—these definitely added to why Kraemer chose us for this project,” said Mike School, Dawes’ Elk Mound branch manager. “We have a great relationship with Kraemer, and obviously we have deep experience with all kinds of bridge work, but in the end, I think our breadth of fleet really makes all the difference for our customers. We are expected to finish ahead of schedule.”

From its world-class crawler fleet—ranging from 75 to 1,000 tons—the ALL Family of Companies was able to deliver not just cranes, but value: the powerful lifting capacity that Kraemer needed, well-maintained equipment, and years of bridge work experience. 

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