North Star Equipment Services crane operators are confident and content working in the dark. Our extended winters in Alaska make for short days and long nights. Many of our crane rentals are on the North Slope which will go months without seeing daylight. With over six decades of experience working in the severe conditions Alaska delivers annually, we are comfortable working in any climate. One element we always take into consideration, is the wind. We work in the dark frigid arctic conditions and we’re consistently discussing risk regarding wind variables in our pre-lift meetings.
One of our night projects were to set the girders on the New Seward Hwy Bridge, Muldoon intersection in Anchorage. The majority of the work was done in the dark of the night. Our operations department was coordinating with the contractors we worked with, to make sure we were ready to go when the road closures were complete. All precautions were taken into consideration, we have lights mounted on the boom of the cranes, and in addition we had many light towers placed strategically around the work area to ensure we had a well-lit area. The operators and signalpersons were all connected by radios to provide instant and accurate communications. We had our work area taped-off, to keep the area clear for our Manitowoc 14000, 200-ton crawler crane. Our rigging was inspected and was on the hook. We were ready to go when the trucks pulled up with the girders, we would shackle to the picking eyes lift them and set the girders on the abutments. This project was on a tight schedule therefore, we needed to be extremely efficient yet maintain safe crane operations.
We performed well for our customers, our portion of the project was completed ahead of the estimated set schedule. In fact, one night we set (10) girders 125’ long weighing over 125,000 lbs. each. This bridge project is on schedule and will be completed this summer.
Our crane rental services were under contract with Hamilton Construction, they were the bridge builder for the General Contractor awarded this project, Neeser Construction. This double diverging diamond bridge is the first of its kind in the state. Unlike many plain bridges in our state, this one has an abundance of Alaskan art work throughout the project site, it certainly dresses up the entire bridge site.
The majority of this project was completed in the dark of the night. It was a testament to our highly skilled operations team, demonstrating excellence by taking every precaution into consideration. They were vigilant with their pre-lift planning meetings to ensure our crane services were performed smoothly, precisely and efficiently all while maintaining our safety culture.