Introducing the Liebherr 355 HC-L

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Friday 13 March 2009
Pat Morgan

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For any one who has been regularly checking the web cam, you will know that for the past few weeks Hawkins has been busy excavating the ground between the heritage buildings. They have about 3 metres more to go, and once this has been finished they will have dug out about 20,000 cubic metres which is around 2,000 truckloads.

The development project is now at an exciting stage - particularly for people like me who love machines! If the weather is okay this coming weekend (14 March) - and we hope we don't get our third wet weekend in a row! - work will start on erecting a huge crane on site. Some of the tower sections have already been delivered to the site and those will start being assembled Friday afternoon. On Saturday the A frames and counter weights will be added and then, probably on Sunday the gib (the big arm) will go on. The crane will be on site for between 15-18 months and there will be two crane drivers for most of that time - one to drive and the other to work on the ground overseeing the loads to be lifted and positioned.

The yellow crane (it's a Liebherr 355 HC-L), could lift 6 elephants and not only that, it could swing them 60 metres in any direction! While we have no intention of doing that, its 32T capacity and 60 metre radius will be used to move large, heavy material on site - things like precast concrete panels, flooring and structural steel framework and assemblies which are made off site then trucked in. These will need be erected between the heritage buildings, the Wellesley/Kitchener wings and the East gallery and at the northern end where the new glass clad atrium will be built.

It will be hard to miss the big yellow crane - as it will stand 36 metres high - and it will be close to Kitchener Street at the end of the heritage building. It's actual location is where the new forecourt and entry to the gallery will be.

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