The Eads Bridge located in St. Louis Missouri has been a landmark since its completion in 1874.  At the time of construction the bridge was longest arch bridge in the world, over 6,400 feet long.  While the upper deck handles traffic, the lower deck just below has been used for railroad traffic and now the St. Louis MetroLink light rail system.Engineered Lifting Systems was contacted to help design a crane system that could be used to facilitate the repair of the railroad tracks and supports for the length of the bridge.  This crane system would need to be able to operate 24 hours a day, 7-days a week for 3-4 years reliably, while operating on a runway with a 1-2% grade, outdoors, and on a less than true runway span. 
Two (2) 3-ton capacity cranes are used to handle the heavy lifting
Two (2) 3-ton capacity cranes are used to handle the heavy lifting
 Working with St. Louis Bridge Construction for almost a year prior to the work commencing, the details for the design were carefully considered.  Flexible connections for the runway rail and cranes allowed operation within the existing designs of the bridge structure while allowing removal after work was completed on one side of the bridge, and then reinstallation on the other side for the second phase of the project. 
The bridge was originally load tested with an elephant in 1874, we used test weights for ours
The bridge was originally load tested with an elephant in 1874, we used test weights for ours
 Now that the project is complete for both sides after 3 years, there have been few issues with these cranes, working under harsh conditions.  In addition to the road deck replacement, most of the support structure itself has been repaired or replaced.  If you Google images for the Eads Bridge you will get a feel for the sheer history of the bridge. 
To traverse the runway incline, tractor drives are the best choice.  These drives were oversized taking into account the forces required to move and stop the total mass
To traverse the runway incline, tractor drives are the best choice.  These drives were oversized taking into account the forces required to move and stop the total mass
 
This picture helps to show the length of the runway system, almost 6,000 feet long
This picture helps to show the length of the runway system, almost 6,000 feet long
 
View-of-the-Arch-from-below-deck
At all times you had a nice view of the St. Louis Arch
 These cranes enabled the work to be completed in a much faster time, and much safer for the workers.  Engineered Lifting Systems thanks the following vendors for this project’s fantastic results:
  • Superior Crane Corp
  • Columbus McKinnon
  • Magnetek
  • Conductix
If you have an application for overhead crane equipment or modernizations, please contact your Crane Doctor Eric Brown at Engineered Lifting Systems Contact.