After successfully facilitating the completion of the westbound towers and stay cables, two of the project’s four red tower cranes were recently retired, marking the end of major construction efforts on the westbound span of the newly named Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.
The extendable tower cranes rose alongside the new bridge’s concrete towers, starting from their football-field length foundations, through the main span roadway, ultimately up to 490 feet – or nearly three times the height of Niagara Falls. Each crane was capable of hoisting up to 25 tons of materials at a time. They proved to be the workhorses on the main span, delivering everything from nuts and bolts to steel cages and concrete to crews. They also removed the innovative jump forms, the large blue boxes that helped shape the towers.
Following the installation of the internal maintenance elevators and tower rooftops, the tower cranes were themselves dismantled and removed from the westbound span, along with other temporary equipment and walkways.
The system that was used to extend the cranes in 2015 was operated in reverse, allowing the cranes to self-climb down to the height of the main span roadway, more than 100 feet above the Hudson River. This allowed crews to safely and easily remove the major elements on the cranes, including the operating cabins and lifting arms.
The remaining “mast” sections of the machines were raised up from the foundations to the roadway by smaller, mobile cranes and shipped off site. Workers then filled the voids in the roadway where the towers once stood with reinforced steel and concrete, clearing the way for the final driving surface.
Two tower cranes remain and will continue to assist efforts on the eastbound main span of the crossing.
(Photo Courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority)