Rising to the challenge

Posted 12/16/2010

Rising to the Challenge 1

In a preview of coming attractions, the massive crane that will be used to erect the steel for the Albert Sherman Center (ASC) is now taking shape on the northwest corner of the construction site.

The 300-ton crane is arriving in pieces aboard a fleet of 16 flatbed tractor trailer trucks and will take nearly three days to assemble. "It's great to see the crane on site," said John Baker, associate vice chancellor of facilities management at UMass Medical School, who is overseeing the project. "We're just days away from structural steel going up, so it's a big milestone for this project."

The crane, a model M250 made by the Manitowoc Company of Wisconsin, will reach 300 feet into the air, with a 240-foot main lattice boom topped by a 60-foot smaller boom known as a jib. The jib is joined to the main boom by a moveable joint, giving the crane an elbow-like ability to reach all areas of the building.

Rising to the Challenge 2

The boom comes primarily in 20-foot sections, which are joined together with heavy steel cotter pins, then hoisted into place by the smaller yellow hydraulic crane brought on site to assemble the M250. The crane is powered by a 450 horsepower diesel engine and will move around the site on its two 30-foot-long steel crawler treads.

The main body of the crane, where the operator sits, rolled on to the site Tuesday afternoon and was set up on a specially compacted area near the corner of North Road and Plantation Street. On Wednesday, sections of the boom and counterweights arrived and were staged for assembly, which is scheduled to begin in earnest today.

As a section of the boom is added to the crane, 10,000-pound counterweights will be stacked on the rear of the main body to maintain balance. When fully assembled, approximately 200,000 pounds of steel counterweights will be in place to offset the loads of the boom and the steel girders that are hoisted.

Once the boom and jib are in place, the assembly team will run steel cables. As early as Monday, Dec. 20, steel beams will begin arriving on site, to be installed first on the upper portion of the building where the foundation walls and footings are now complete. The M250 is owned by Marino Crane Company of Middletown, Conn., and will be operated by J.F. Stearns and Company of Pembroke, Mass., the steel erection firm hired by Berry.