Crane lifts aerial utility bridge over Little Cuyahoga River in northeast Ohio

May 15, 2019

As any craftsman will tell you, having the right tool for the job makes all the difference. It is true for small tools weighing just a few ounces—and even for cranes, where bigger is not always better.

ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp. of Cleveland, a member of the ALL Family of Companies, recently proved this point with its work on the Uhler Conveyance combined sewer project in Akron, Ohio.

H.M. Miller Construction of Akron contracted with ALL Crane to provide lift services for placing an aerial utility bridge to hold a storm sewer pipeline over the Little Cuyahoga River. The bridge was trucked to the site in three sections and assembled on site, creating a single piece that was 160 ft long and weighed 70,000 lb. ALL Crane was to supply a crane that could handle that weight at a radius of 120 ft.

After reviewing the heavily wooded location, ALL Crane equipment specialist Brian Meek recommended the Liebherr LTM 1450-8.1 for the job. The eight-axle crane was designed for great mobility and easy setup. Where conventional wisdom might have called for a larger 550-USt crane, Meek knew the 500-USt 1450 was a better fit for the work that needed to be done.

“There were trees we had to swing around, and [the machine's] ability to maneuver the counterweights increased our radius without requiring a super lift attachment,” said Meek. “We also were able to use less counterweight, set back farther with greater capacity, and eliminate three additional truckloads of parts, which maximized assembly and disassembly time for the customer.”

The reason the Liebherr LTM 1450-8.1 required less counterweight is because it comes equipped with VarioBallast, which allows the ballast radius to be reduced with infinite adjustment from 16 ft to 23 ft using a hydraulic swivel mechanism. This feature can benefit constricted sites like the one for the sewer pipe bridge.

“VarioBallast and the well-engineered simplicity of the 1450 made it possible to hit our required radius safely while remaining well within safe capacity limits,” said Meek. The multiple configurations available from the crane, from heavy lifts to far reaches, allows crews to equip it in a variety of ways to obtain the weight and radius required.

The LTM 1450 used 70 ft of main boom and a 126-ft luffing jib to pick the bridge off the ground, maneuver around the tree line, and set the bridge across the river banks near the intersection of Memorial Parkway and Uhler Avenue to reconfigure CSO (combined sewer overflow) Rack 27.  

“We started planning for this lift several months prior,” said Meek. “Coming in with a smaller crane not only saved money on the project, but it also allowed work to be completed more safely.”

The work is part of a $6.8 million project to improve the combined sewer overflow system in Akron.