Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Giant Cranes Anchored Firmly in Place Can Weather Cache Valley Storms

By Ken Snyder

This crane is 200 feet tall and weighs 150,000 pounds.
A few days ago we had some gusty winds here in Cache Valley that even blew down a couple of barns. Have you ever wondered if those huge cranes we have working on Huntsman Hall are at risk of tumbling down when the weather gets wild? Well the answer to that question, my friends, is not blowin’ in the wind. The answer is in today’s blog.
The tallest Spindler Construction crane we have on site is about 200 feet high when fully extended upward. That is almost twice as tall as the George S. Eccles Business Building, which is 110 feet tall. There are two cranes working this job at all times and sometimes Spindler brings in a third crane. The other one, which is always here and is more mobile, is about 120 feet tall when fully extended and weighs 80,000 pounds

If you are like me and it hurts your neck and head to look up and even think of cranes being so tall, this may add to your sense of construction wonder: these are both considered medium-sized cranes. 

This is not a crane. It is Ken Snyder.
The tallest crane we have here weighs 150,000 pounds and it is anchored in place by outriggers that sit on wooden pads called “cribbing” that give it even more stability. The crane has a lattice framework so the wind is blowing through it, not against it. The smaller crane with a steel boom can be lowered and sort of folded up at night or in a windstorm. So, if there is stormy weather they can optimize the positioning of the cranes so the wind doesn’t cause any of us here on earth to lose sleep worrying about their stability. 

If there are any kind of wind issues going on, the work that the cranes do comes to a halt. Experienced crane operators do not want a load, which can weigh up to 85 tons with the big crane, slowly spinning around over the heads of the people at work below. The man who operates the largest crane has about 25 years of experience and the other crane’s operator has about 15 years of experience. They both know how the cranes at USU react when the wind blows. 

The smaller crane is taller than the George S. Eccles Business Building.
The cranes are a vital part of the construction of Huntsman Hall. They can move a stack of boards or a huge concrete bucket right to the place they are needed. Can you imagine how complicated things would get if everything had to be moved about the job site manually? That’s why the cranes we have here are kept so busy. Who knows how many loads one crane must carry before it is time for it to leave? All we know for sure is that the loads my friend, won’t be blowin’ in the winds; the loads won’t be blowin’ in the wind.

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