Although we may not give them much thought, bridges are a part of our everyday lives. Throughout the ages bridges have garnered our admiration for their symbolic value and as fetes of engineering, overcoming geographical challenges.
It’s no secret that building and maintaining bridges is highly specialised work, as well as work that is vastly important. However, in the shocking article ‘Half of bridges on England’s busiest roads in ‘poor condition’ published by The Times on December 3rd, 2020, where information was retrieved under the Freedom of Information Act from Highways England, it was revealed that “4,000 of about 9,000 bridges and large culverts on motorways or A-roads showed evidence of defects or damage that may significantly affect their capacity”. This was further examined by two articles from December 2020 and January 2021 in newcivilengineer.com.
These articles examining the state of motorway bridges alone highlight the complexity of bridge maintenance.
Sourcing crane hire services for bridge building and maintenance
Bridges are a particularly tricky structure to build and maintain. Aside from circumventing the logistical inconveniences that closures for maintenance inevitably cause, finding experienced providers of the highly specialised services, machines and equipment required for working on these structures is an added challenge.
When contemplating crane hire for bridgework, it’s worth noting that not every company that provides heavy lifting services will be experienced in the intricacies of bridge building and maintenance work.
Bridgework requires additional planning as the logistics and engineering challenges are more complex than those of other types of lifting work.
Many variables will have to be taken into consideration such as: the materials to be handled as well as their weight and dimensions, the size and height of the bridge, working on rough terrain, working over or in water and other specific climatic and geographic constraints.
The best cranes for bridgework
Cranes are one of the most important pieces of equipment used in bridge building and maintenance. Cranes for bridgework can vary depending on the specifics of each job, but their common tasks include lifting and positioning beams and lifting and positioning other materials such as concrete slabs or ironwork.
Although cranes for working on bridges can vary greatly, with some large scale projects utilising derrick cranes or even overhead cranes, mobile cranes remain the most popular option for smaller bridges.
Mobile cranes for bridgework
When hiring mobile cranes for bridgework, the key factor is the terrain.
The terrain the crane has to operate on will determine your choice of mobile crane. There are different crane mounts for specific settings (cranes that work on the water will be barge-mounted, cranes that work over railways may be rail mounted), but the most common choice to be made when hiring a crane for working on bridges is whether a wheel-mounted crane can be used or whether the terrain will require a track-mounted crane.
Wheel-mounted cranes are extremely convenient as they can easily travel by road. Some wheel-mounted cranes offer extreme versatility for bridgework and manufacturers continually add features to improve performance.
Liebherr is a globally renowned brand frequently associated with bridgework. The Liebherr LTM 1450-8.1e 450t all-terrain mobile crane is a highly manoeuvrable heavyweight crane with a patented outrigger system, designed for use on sites with space restrictions. It has an 85m telescopic boom, is easy to set up and can travel on public roads.
That said, even “all-terrain” wheel-mounted cranes are not suitable for very rugged environments. Wheel-mounted cranes generally require good road access and relatively even surfaces to operate on, which is often not the case when working on bridge projects.
For work on uneven surfaces and rough terrain, the best mobile crane for bridgework will be a track-mounted crane (or crawler crane).
The 100t Liebherr LTR1100 telescopic crawler crane features a chassis that provides outstanding off-road manoeuvrability combined with its impressive lifting power. Its versatility makes it a great choice for use on challenging projects and in harsh environments, such as rough terrain bridgework.
Experts in bridgework crane hire
Whatever the bridge-building or maintenance project, the importance of working with experts on crane rental for bridgework cannot be overstated. Any company working on projects of this complexity requires a firm grasp of all project variables as well as a profound knowledge of crane operation in different environments.
Crane operators require careful training and the quality and maintenance of all machines involved is of paramount importance.
If you are interested in crane hire for bridgework, get in touch with Emerson’s Crane Hire. Emerson’s fleet includes some of the most specialised cranes in the industry and all of our machines are carefully maintained by our team of expert engineers.
Our account managers can offer guidance and advice throughout your project and we boast some of the most qualified and experienced crane operators in the field.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our highly experienced team. Call us on 020 8059 2567, or visit our contact us page here.