Thousand-Mile Trip Takes Less Than Three Minutes

Barnhart was hired to move a water runner over 1,1000 miles from New Orleans to a hydroelectric facility in Ludington, Michigan. The piece measured 28’ 2” in circumference, was 15’ tall and weighed over 610,000 lbs. The project was captured in the following short video.

The water runner began its journey on a hopper barge in order to clear the low-lying Lemont bridge. With an air draft of 19’6” from the bottom of the bridge to the top of the water, the barge cleared within only two feet.

At Barnhart’s heavy lift terminal at the Port of Chicago in Calumet, Ill., the cargo was transferred from hopper barge to ABS deck barge to continue its journey across Lake Michigan.  There it was rolled off and transported to the plant.

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Planning and experience combined for a successful Barnhart job last week that removed an 80-year old deteriorating water tank and steel tower in East Hampton, Conn.

photo by Jeff Mill - The Middleton Press

The project was part of a seven-year effort to have the tank and tower on which it sat removed. Over the years, both had become safety hazards.

The cypress tank, measuring 22′ high and 18′ diameter and weighing 25,000 lbs., was removed first, utilizing a 200-ton Demag hydraulic crane and two pneumatically powered 135’ Manlifts. The crews secured the tank even as they worked to separate it from its supports.

To ensure the tank stayed whole, workers screwed long, narrow pieces of plywood to the outside. The two-man crews in the lifts also fastened slings around the tank.

After an initial effort, crews secured the tank from the bottom using the proper rigging.  Once the securement was complete, they began cutting away the supports using acetylene torches.  Then, with the crews down from their lift vehicles, the crane increased the tension on the lines and slowly swung the tank out and around and settled it down with ease on the pavement near an abandoned thread mill.

Lifting the wooden tank off its stand was “almost anticlimactic,” according to Jon Irwin, the operations manager for Barnhart Northeast.  Having developed a good plan in advance, “the lift is the least of the work,” Irwin said after the tank was safely on the ground.

Photo by Jeff Mill - The Middletown Press

Less than half an hour after the tank was lowered to the ground, crews starting taking it apart, carrying the weather-beaten boards into a roll-off container. Barnhart removed the four-legged steel tower the next day.

“We have a great crew here,” Irwin said. “They’re top-notch.”

Both the cypress wood and the steel in the tower are being recycled.

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Barnhart was contracted to provide turnkey service for the removal and replacement of five wind turbine gearboxes on 80m hub height wind turbines.

The site had several constraints in that the Bureau of Land Management owned the land on which the wind farm was located and restricted land disturbance around the turbine. Also, any ground disturbance had to be reseeded with native grasses.

A further complication was the involvement of a third party contractor to deliver the new components to the site and haul the old gearboxes back to the repair facility, requiring additional coordination on Barnhart’s part.

Two cranes were used for the project. The heaviest component lifted was the wind turbine rotor assemblies at 140,000 lbs. The gearbox with the four generators weighed 115,000 lbs. Once the gearbox was removed, Barnhart had to pull out the generators from the old gearbox and install them on the new one.

The project was completed successfully, which resulted in a long-term agreement with the client to maintain their fleet.

For more project stories, check out Barnhart’s Lifting Letter. If you would like to be added to our distribution list please send us a note at or sign up on our website.

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Barnhart took home three of seven SC&RA Job of the Year Awards at the SC&RA Annual Conference April 14-18 at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. The awards recognize projects that successfully meet professional challenges in rigging and hauling.

The winning projects included:

Rigging – Over $2 million

The vault being hauled after removal.

Barnhart engineered and built equipment to lift, transport and set a 340 vault and 309 reactor from the Washington Closure Hanford site in Washington.  The 1000-ton loads then had to be transported 50 miles to the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF).

The challenges were many. Since the 340 Vault was originally a basement for a larger building, the building had to be removed and then extensive excavation was required to allow access to lift the vault as well as transport the vault to surface level.  The highly-radioactive 309 Reactor had to be removed concurrently with its shielding structure as one large monolith.

Engineering for the project began in January of 2012 and the final piece was set at the ERDF in February of 2014.

Rigging – Under $150,000

Barnhart's Multi-Tagline Device controls the eight tag lines needed to safely lift the damaged blade.

Barnhart removed and replaced a damaged blade on a 2.5MW Clipper C-96 Liberty wind turbine generator utilizing their craneless single blade solution. Ice buildup on the blade posed a challenge, altering the center of gravity of the blade and adding an unknown amount of added weight. To overcome the challenge, Barnhart employed a “steam genie,” or heated pressure washer, to melt the ice and perform the exchange.

Hauling – Over 160,000 lbs.

Barnhart hauled a 425,000 lb. secondary reformer 1,605 miles from a fabricator in Tulsa, Okla. to a refinery in Lima, Ohio via barge and over-the-road trucking.  Weighing in at 425,000 pounds, the reformer was just over 73-feet-long, 17-feet, 8-inches wide and 18-feet, 4-inches high. In order to accommodate the vessel, Barnhart had to create the largest dolly transporter the company has ever assembled, with a gross weight of 885,000 lbs.

Barnhart decided to roll the entire 300 foot long dolly transporter and vessel directly onto the barge.

The project involved a 13-mile haul from Tulsa to the Port of Catoosa, loading the cargo and dolly onto the barge, and barging 1,357 miles to Burns Harbor, Ind. The barge trip required negotiating the low-lying Lemont Bridge which connects Lake Michigan to the Illinois River.  The final leg of the trip was another 235-mile haul to the final destination.

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Barnhart was tasked with engineering and executing the up-ending and down-ending of a 430-ton generator.  The team successfully completed the task despite the low head room and only ½” of clearance in the floor opening.  See how they did it in this 90-second time-lapse video.

For more videos of Barnhart in action, visit our video library.

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Today, engineers from Barnhart Crane & Rigging are expected to announce a major breakthough that will completely revolutionize the heavy lifting industry. In an afternoon press conference, Barnhart will reveal an electromagnetic levitation lifting device that can be used to lift and transport loads up to 1200 metric tons using anti-gravitational forces and completely radical rigging arrangements.

The transporter, known as the Stulti Aprilis, will be able to hover up to heights of 8,000 meters and will have a standard operating altitude of 50 to 100 meters.  “To date we have only successfully tested the craft at a ceiling of 8,000 meters and with only certain farm animals. Truth is, we don’t think there are any restrictions on its altitude range, though certainly its lifting capacity is higher at lower altitudes,” said Dr. I.M. Awisenhiemer, lead project scientist on Barnhart’s Anti-Grav Project.

Click this link to view a photo of top-secret testing of the Stulti Aprilis on April 1, 2014.

The Anti-Grav Project is from Barnhart’s Deep Six team, tasked with figuring out revolutionary ways to move cargo without any rigging.

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Barnhart, in a partnership with a leading barge company, is offering customers a unique service called the River Train along the navigable U.S. river systems.

Using a fleet of 3000 hopper barges, Barnhart can transport nearly any oversized project cargo of 150 tons or greater.  This type of cargo can be a logistical nightmare to transport over land.

One of the key advantages of the River Train is its flexibility and different levels of service.  The River Train has regular departures and destinations, plus tracking and delivery.

“We call it the Fedex on the waterways, in that we can get it there when you need it to fit your schedule and your needs.  Standard delivery, Express or Premium, ” says John Mickler, national logistics development manager for Barnhart.

Another advantage of the River Train is that it’s less expensive than dedicated line service. Plus, a customer benefits from Barnhart’s network of services, including their engineering teams and infrastructure.

Most of Barnhart’s offices are located near ports and waterways, enabling them to provide more efficient turnkey “Anchor to Anchor Bolts” services.  This availability of equipment and expertise means Barnhart can easily mobilize the resources needed to offload the cargo, transport it to the delivery site and rough set it on the foundation.

For more information on the River Train service contact Evan Bradley at 251-706-8745.

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During a spring turnaround at a petroleum refinery in Illinois, Barnhart was asked to remove and replace eight heat exchanger bundles. Four were located on the second level and four were on the third level of the unit. The challenge was how to safely and effectively reach 10 feet into the unit to replace them.

A further challenge was a pipe rack on the outside of the structure which protruded an additional eight feet.  Also, due to the support members on the unit structure, several windows needed to be created to pull the exchanger bundles from the unit.

Barnhart’s Moving Counterweight Cantilever Beam was utilized to make the 10 foot reach into the unit.  The bundles were then basket-rigged tightly to the beam in order to clear the steel support structure between the first and second levels. In addition, Barnhart’s innovative engineering team provided an alternative solution to dismantling the pipe rack on the outside of the unit.

The bundles were successfully removed and replaced. Efficient planning and coordination by Barnhart’s team enabled the project to be completed safely and profitably, while providing a value solution to the client.

For more project stories, check out Barnhart’s Lifting Letter. If you would like to be added to our distribution list please send us a note at or sign up on our website.


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Barnhart was hired by a Wisconsin nuclear power plant to remove and replace four feedwater heaters, a condensate cooler, and two main feed pump motor skids during a spring outage. They then repeated the process in a fall outage in a job that won Barnhart SC&RA’s Rigging Job of the Year in 2012.

The challenges Barnhart faced were many, including the fact that the floor beams wouldn’t support the 124,000 lbs. feed water heaters. Plus the 42’ heaters, which were 6’ in diameter, were very difficult to move through the facility.

See how we solved these challenges in this video case study 

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The old saying “time is money” is never more true than with turnarounds, shutdowns and outages requiring cranes and other specialized equipment.  The need to reduce cost through better planning is where Barnhart’s national network of branches, people, and deep inventory of cranes and other rigging and transportation equipment really make a difference.

With now over 30 branches strategically places across the entire United States, Barnhart can easily mobilize cranes, equipment and expertise to any job site anywhere in the country. Our inventory of over 200 cranes ranging in capacity from 18 tons to almost 1,800 tons can supply the machines to meet the needs of the most challenging outage project.

Rigging supervision, lift planning, site transportation services, crane services and more can be provided through our team of professional supervisors, engineers and project managers. And, when needed, Barnhart can easily meld with you or your contractor’s craft labor and work with local crane providers to complete the entire scope of your outage.

The expertise of Barnhart helps ensure the safety, quality and timely completion of your next project. When brought in early, our team has proven over and over its ability to reduce risk and the overall cost of an outage.


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