Hauling oversized cargo is nothing new for Barnhart, so a project to receive and transport a degassing and recovery column from the Port of Houston to a plant site in La Porte, Texas was right in our wheelhouse.

The recovery column was nearly 200 feet long and weighed 529,104 pounds. It was offloaded at the port to two 8-axle-line EasTrac transporters with bolster configurations.

While the permitted route to the plant was just 35 miles, it included safely navigating the column through the congested city of Houston.

Once the recovery column was delivered, the degassing column was transported two days later by a 12-line EasTrac transporter to the site. Both columns were delivered safely and on time.

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Transport Components 1000 Miles. Repeat.

Barnhart projects often have a long timeframe of at least several months, but in the case of a recently completed project, the timeline was more like six years.

As featured in an article in Waterways Journal, the project to deliver six water runners from New Orleans to a hydroelectric plant in Ludington, Michigan started in 2013. But the plant could only accept one at a time.

Each trip was 1,100 miles and took an average of six months. The runners would arrive in New Orleans by vessel from Shanghai, China. Each one weighed over 610,000 lb., was 28’ 2” in diameter and stood 16′ tall. It was accompanied by a wearing ring 24′ in diameter and 3′ high.

The components were offloaded to a hopper barge in New Orleans for transport to Chicago. The barge was necessary to clear the low-lying Lemont Bridge on Illinois’ Des Plaines River. 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, Illinois, the cargo was transferred from hopper barge to an ABS deck barge with a TC3000 truck crane to continue its journey across Lake Michigan.  In Ludington, the wearing ring was picked off the deck barge via 60T crane, while the water runner was rolled off using a 14-line single-wide PSTe Goldhofer trailer, transported to the plant and staged for placement.

Barnhart’s Chicago branch handled the project. According to Project Manager Jose Alva, the biggest challenges were communication and safety.

“Managing the line of communication between several contractors and the potential daily safety risks involved with working near water, pinch points, welding and staying clear of the load were a challenge. We’re happy with our team for always implementing the best safety practices.”

Watch a short video of the 1000-mile journey.

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Barnhart Helps Kick Off the Holidays in Canton

Barnhart’s Canton, Ohio recently had an unusual assignment – moving a Christmas tree from its site to a location in downtown Central Plaza.

The 35-foot, 3,000-pound blue spruce was donated by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, located just a few blocks away from the plaza. It was planted in 1991, according to Monsignor Frank Carfagna, and had outgrown its location.

Barnhart’s job was to provide equipment, a crane operator and two riggers. On the morning of the job, the riggers rigged the tree, and a city worker cut through the trunk with a chain saw. Barnhart’s crane operator, Mark Shumaker, lifted the tree from its stump with a Grove 50-ton crane and expertly guided it to a double-drop trailer for the short trip.

At the site on the plaza, the tree was carefully placed by the crane into a receptacle on the ground. According to Shumaker, the biggest challenge with the job is one most of us face at Christmas, making sure the tree stands straight.

Unlike lifting a wind turbine blade at 300’ in the air or transporting a 317,000 lb. coker bubble tower, the tree was not among the most complicated projects Barnhart undertakes. But it certainly is one of the most fun, says Shumaker.  “It’s something you look forward to every year, being part of that community effort to bring the tree to the plaza.”

The Barnhart branch, which was formerly Selinsky Force, has been helping with the tree move, gratis, for approximately two decades. The tree was part of the Light Up Downtown event on Dec. 6, which kicked off the Christmas season in Canton.

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Raising the Roof: Barnhart Part of ENR Best Project

A year-long project at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington involving Barnhart recently received an Engineering News Record (ENR) 2018 Best Project designation. Barnhart’s role was to provide operated crane service and other assistance during the 14-month job.

The project involved removing and strengthening the roof of an aging reduction oxidation facility. The roof area of the five story-facility was 90-ft-high, 388-ft-long and 64-ft-wide.

Barnhart was able to supply a crane that was capable of reaching both sides of the building from one location, which cut down on setup time. During the course of the project, Barnhart removed multiple layers of roofing including gravel insulation and rubber roofing.

Due to underground issues at the site, there were ground load bearing considerations. Barnhart was able to use some of their cool tools like bridge jumpers, which were able to span over low tolerance areas of the ground to safely move the crane around obstacles and minimize down time.

The strengthening of the roof involved adding a new structure that integrated into the existing roof that utilized pre-engineered building elements and customized them to act as a new roof structure.  Barnhart’s crane was able to speed up installation by preassembling some of the new structure on the ground minimizing installation time for the crew on the roof.

Being a Department of Energy (DOE) site in a desert location, there were other considerations. The crew wore body monitoring equipment to measure real-time heart rate and body core temperature as well as personnel badges to measure and monitor radiation dose.

Barnhart’s Richland, Washington branch headed up the project. “Probably the biggest challenge of this job was being able to construct and move the crane in a timely manner in a tight location and abide by all the requirements for a DOE nuclear site,” said Justen McCarthy, branch manager.

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Sunday was Veteran’s Day, a holiday that originated as Armistice Day to commemorate the agreement that ended World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. Its name was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954. This year’s holiday marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the “war to end all wars.”

While Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans – living or dead – it especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. Barnhart is thankful to have veterans from many branches of the military among our ranks of employees. They serve in positions from logistics to engineering to trucking. We are proud of their service and their values of discipline and dedication.

We are also thankful for our over 1200 employees nationwide who represent Barnhart every day. It’s hard to imagine that a company that started with 10 employees in one single Memphis location just a few decades ago would grow to a company our size.

Being thankful is a big part of our mindset at Barnhart and is embodied in some of our core values. It extends to our appreciation of our employees who go out and provide quality service to our customers every day. To our engineers and fabricators who, through innovation, create better methods and tools to meet the needs of our customers. To our project managers and others who ensure the safety of our employees, customers, vendors and the general public on the job.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we count our blessings and are especially grateful to our customers who enable us to do what we love every day. Repeat customers who show their confidence in our past performance by giving us more opportunities. New customers who are willing to give us a shot based on our reputation and history and allow us to exceed their expectations.

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope it is a day filled with gratitude, fellowship, delicious food and, of course, football.


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Steam Locomotive Moved with Care and Precision

Barnhart is often called to move cargo large and small and sometimes even antique.

Barnhart’s Spokane branch was hired to move a 1920’s era Forney steam locomotive from its site at the Pullman Depot Heritage Center in Pullman to the Inland Northwest Rail Museum in Reardon, Washington. It was a task that was familiar, as Barnhart brought the engine to Pullman in 2008.

The locomotive weighed approximately 60,000 lbs. The crew used a 100-ton Linkbelt machine, a crane operator and a couple of riggers to complete the team.

The main concern was making sure the components of the antique piece were protected during all phases of the project. Barnhart carefully fastened slings and chains to the engine, so it could be lifted and moved to the truck.

Photo courtesy of the Pullman Depot Heritage Center

The locomotive was set on a heavy haul seven-axle lowboy for the 100-mile trip to Rearden. At the Northwest Rail Museum, it was offloaded and set on their display track.

Observers watching at the Pullman Depot witnessed quite a show.

“The team hoisted the steam engine into the air, expertly maneuvered it alongside our depot, and gently placed it on a trailer for the trip. The entire process was accomplished with care and precision,” said Linda Hackbarth, Co-chair of the Pullman Depot Heritage Center Project.

Watch a video of the project here. 

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Blade Bar Revolutionizing Wind Projects

You wouldn’t expect a crane company to devise a system for wind maintenance projects that requires fewer cranes, but that’s what we’ve done with our custom designed blade bar.

The blade bar replaces the industry standard two crane method for wind turbine blade removal, requiring only one crane. One less crane means less mobilization, labor, truck and equipment costs for our customers. Reduced crew and crane operations also mean a safer process.

The blade bar is a metal frame, adjustable in five-foot increments from 5’ long to 115’ long, making it fully adjustable to the blade’s specs. The length of the bar is adjusted on the ground and a sling is attached at one end. The blade is then lifted by a single hydraulic or crawler crane to the height of the damaged blade, eliminating a critical lift with a standard single crane operation.

At the end of the bar is a custom counterweight system, which easily adjusts to meet the blade’s center of gravity. A hydraulically powered unit can rotate the bar and blade on three different rotation points in either direction.

The sling at the end of the bar is threaded over the damaged blade and another sling is eventually attached at the root end, which stabilizes and balances the blade. Once the blade is safely secured, it is disconnected from the turbine’s hub and the blade bar and blade are lowered to the ground.

Among the blade bar’s further advantages is that one crane operator is in control of all operations versus two to coordinate. Smaller crane pad requirements also mean less environmental risk. The blade bar system is also able to handle higher wind speed operating limits.

See the blade bar in action in this animation.

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Broken Blade Removal A Multi-Branch Effort

When a wind turbine blade breaks, removing it at over 300 feet from the ground can be a challenge.

Barnhart was called to a wind farm in Illinois to remove a broken blade from a wind turbine. The other two good blades had to be removed as well and stored on the ground until a replacement blade could be sourced.

Customarily, blades are removed when the rotor is at a 3 o’clock or 6 o’clock position. In this instance, the rotor was locked out in a 12 o’clock position, with the broken piece of the 145’ blade dangling midway down. This is the most difficult position from which to remove a blade and is rarely completed even in emergency situations. However, turning the rotor to a more favorable position was not possible without risking damage to the other blades, hub and turbine.

It took three rounds of engineering whiteboard design plus numerous consultations with the customer to design a plan of action. Then a storm came through and complicated issues by further damaging the blade, which required a revision to the removal plan.

One consideration was the hub height, which was 265’ to the center of the hub. The eventual removal method utilized three large cranes, two 550-ton and one 600-ton crane, and personnel from several Barnhart branches.

Barnhart performed an initial examination using two of the cranes with man baskets for preliminary rigging and inspection. Photos were then sent to the engineering team in Memphis for review and final design adjustments to the plan.

Due the nature of the work, wind speeds had to be below 15 mph along with a favorable forecast to allow each task to be completed. There were also numerous safety issues to consider, like falling debris and pieces of the broken blade. All non-critical personnel were kept outside the designated perimeter and critical personnel operated under Job Hazard Analysis plans to keep them safe during all segments of the operation.

Barnhart used two cranes to stabilize the broken blade with multiple slings. The crew was able to sandwich the blade together and contain the pieces in compression to make it rigid enough to cut and lower safely.

The third crane held a man basket with a crew responsible for cutting the broken piece loose around the break. Both pieces were then lowered to the ground for further examination by the customer. The other cranes were used to remove the remaining two good blades.

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Lock Gate Replacement Becoming a Barnhart Specialty

Barnhart was recently hired for a project at the Holt Lock and Dam on the Black Warrior River in Alabama to remove and replace the lock’s lower mitre gate, our third lock replacement project in the past couple of years.

For the Holt project, two new gates were fabricated in Russellville, Alabama, and transported by barge to the site up the Black Warrior River. In the meantime, Barnhart was assembling a lift system that would span the width of the 150’ lock. The team brought in Big Al, their barge-mounted heavy lift crane, to set up the equipment.

Barnhart devised a system using a modular lift tower and two 8’ tall girders to span the lock in conjunction with a 500-ton hoist and slide system, which would maneuver the gates. Once the gates arrived, Barnhart lifted the two old gates from the pocket and downended them onto the barge for transport. Tugs were used to support the barge during this process.

The new gates were delivered to the hook of the hoist and upended using the 500-ton hoist. Each new gate weighed 375 tons, which was 35 tons more than the old gates. They were then set into the gate recesses on temporary stands, with each lift taking 3-4 hours.  Barnhart’s part, from equipment set up and removal, took four days.

It took coordination among all the players, including Barnhart, the tug and barge company, the Corps of Engineers and the lock’s maintenance company, to successfully complete the project on time.

Watch this video of the process.



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Barnhart Opens First Ohio Branch with Selinsky Acquisition

Barnhart will expand its services into Ohio through a recent agreement with Selinsky Force based in Canton. Barnhart will purchase the company’s crane and rigging operations, including all associated personnel and equipment.

Those resources include crane service with a lifting capacity of up to 275-tons, hydraulic gantries and sliding equipment, lift trucks of up to 100,000 lb. in capacity, and trucking services including hydraulic transporters. Barnhart will also acquire Selinsky’s rigging, hauling and crane assets, plus an experienced team.     

“Selinsky has a great reputation for providing crane, rigging and hauling services in Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This team will help Barnhart become the best heavy lift and heavy transportation provider in our market,” said Matt Brennan, Barnhart’s Chief Financial Officer.

Barnhart’s acquisition includes Selinsky’s heavy lift and heavy haul services.

The acquisition will further enhance Barnhart’s presence in the Midwest, where we already operate a number of branches in Kentucky and Illinois. Crane and rigging customers will benefit from access to Barnhart’s nationwide network of locations backed up by project cargo logistics capabilities, an engineering department with more than 60 engineers, and our own fleet of barges for transport on inland waterways.

Selinsky Force will continue to retain and operate all of its core industrial services, which include refractory, equipment rental, plant maintenance, steel erection, and pulverizer services.

With the Selinsky expansion, Barnhart’s network grows to nearly 50 locations nationwide.

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