Barnhart Crane & Rigging Saves Project Cost Through Innovation

Nov 17, 2003

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.)---The Cooper River bridge project in Charleston, S.C. had intended to use a Manitowoc 21,000 crane to erect the two main girders over I-26, but through innovative use of a transport system, Barnhart Crane & Rigging along with Superior Transportation devised an approach to moving the girders using only the site construction cranes.

“The construction team was going to have to spend several hundred thousand dollars to set the two straddle-bent girders that weighed in at 432,000 pounds each,” said Tim Fielder, project manager. “They were looking for ways to cut costs and speed up the schedule, so they came to Barnhart and asked us to look into various types of alternative lifting methods.”

The setting of the 164 foot-long girders was a vital step in the process of completing the largest public works project ever awarded in the state of South Carolina. In the process of the design and build project, the contractor ran into the problem of setting the girders, and they turned to Barnhart for a solution.

A engineer for the contractor said, “We thought we were going to have to use some pretty huge, and expensive, cranes to set our bridge girders, but Barnhart showed us an alternative that was simple, but ingenious.”

When the project is complete, Barnhart will have saved the contractors several hundred thousand dollars and a lot of site interruption.

The two girders were shipped in four pieces by Barnhart from Carolina Steel’s Colfax plant on dual-lane loading, Trail King transporters in a bolster configuration, to the Navy Yard in Charleston.

At the Navy Yard, they were spliced together, put on Barnhart’s specially designed twelve-dolly rig in a bolster configuration that allowed the beams to be brought across the bridge, spread out transversally. This method allowed the girders to then be cantilevered over the sides of the interstate. In this position, the girders were easily lifted by Manitowoc M2250 cranes on the ground and then set on piers above the existing interstate.

Barnhart worked with the contractor's engineers to circumvent the only obvious method of moving the massive bridge girders, which was to employ an expensive 21,000 crane. Instead, Barnhart’s use of specially designed transportation equipment, on-site cranes and the bridge itself, as a fulcrum, allowed for a simpler approach, with no additional lifting and reinforcement equipment necessary, and a much smaller price tag, to boot.

Barnhart Crane & Rigging, established in 1969, is a leading national supplier of specialized heavy rigging and transportation solutions. The company, with 13 locations across the United States, also provides crane services, machinery moving and plant relocations, as well as project cargo logistics and heavy equipment storage at its 100-acre, 700,000-square-foot warehouse facility in Memphis, Tenn.

Barnhart Crane & Rigging, an ISO 9001 certified supplier, also operates terminal facilities at the Port of Memphis and the deepwater Port of Mobile, Ala. For more information, visit

Contact information:
Barnhart Crane & Rigging Co. (Home Office) (901) 775-3000 or toll-free (800) 727-0149
Barnhart Crane & Rigging Co. (Gulf Coast Division) (251) 654-0541

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