Building the big bridge for Baraboo bypass

June 6, 2016

In Sauk County, Wis., an hour northwest of Madison, the Baraboo Bypass off U.S. 12 is coming together—literally. The south section of the bypass will be 5.4 miles long and four lanes wide, splitting from U.S. 12 at Ski Hi Road in the city of Baraboo, proceeding northward. The north section of the bypass (5.7 miles) was finished in 2011. Once the entire bypass is completed in 2017, the south section will include multiple bridges, with the biggest bridge stretching over the Baraboo River. This bridge will be the largest and tallest in Wisconsin, with a 160-ft drop.

In early 2016, the bridge construction subcontractor for this section of the bypass, Lunda Construction Co., contacted Dawes Rigging & Crane Rental in Madison. Dawes, with four yards in Wisconsin, is a member of the ALL Family of Companies, North America’s largest privately held crane rental and sales operation. By May, the big bridge’s foundation would be ready to receive the 80 locally made, 160,000-lb steel beams that would form the base for the bypass over the Baraboo River. Lunda knew from experience that Dawes would have the right equipment and team for the careful lifting and setting of the heavy beams.

Together, the two companies developed a lift plan—tandem picks by two of the ALL enterprise’s 300-USt Manitowoc 2250 crawler cranes. Dawes was easily able to accommodate Lunda’s project from ALL’s industry-leading fleet of crawlers. The trucks carrying the components for the 2250s, each to be configured with 190 ft of boom, began to arrive April 11.

The area in the Baraboo River where the bridge is being built can be extremely windy, and it was a rainy spring in Wisconsin. The team kept a close eye on the potential for bad weather or rising riverbanks, either of which could endanger the temporary platforms Lunda had built for the bridge’s construction and thus cause project delays. The pressure was on to get the beams set in two months.

With the assistance of their own trucking fleet, Dawes was able to deliver the cranes ahead of schedule. One crawler was assembled on the river’s south bank on the platform, while the other was set on the north bank. The crawlers worked together, carefully picking the beams off a truck and setting them on the bridge at an average rate of eight beams per workday. Partway through the project, Dawes had to disassemble and move the south bank crawler to the north bank in order to set the beams where they were needed. But that did not slow the Dawes team. They finished ahead of schedule, setting all 80 beams in just over one month.

The 38-branch ALL Family of Companies offers regional distribution of its extensive crawler fleet, ensuring that Dawes can deliver the right machines for the job—even a matching pair to work in tandem—when and where customers need them.

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