Impressive Sight

The massive crane dominating the construction site of Luddy Hall can be seen from blocks away.

It looms over the landscape on the corner of 11th  Street and Woodlawn Avenue in Bloomington, a towering entity both massive and skeletal. It’s visible from blocks away, and despite its fragile appearance, it is doing some of the toughest construction work imaginable.

The work at Luddy Hall has continued full speed as the calendar has flipped to December, and as the 124,000-square-foot building has risen out of the ground, the series of cranes that helped build the first three floors are no longer large enough to reach the center of the building. Weddle Brothers, the contractors for the building, needed to bring in the truly heavy machinery.

Enter the Manitowoc Model 999, a 275-ton crawler crane with a 170-foot boom and another 170 feet of luffing jib.

What’s a luffing jib? Luffing jibs are attached to mobile cranes and can lift and move loads without having to swing outside of the construction site. Since the building has reached a height of roughly 70 feet, the massive crane will be able to lift a variety of materials up and over the structure of Luddy Hall to anywhere on site the materials are needed.

The crane will be lifting rebar, lumber, concrete in a dump bucket to pour shear walls and columns, shear wall forms, and the forming tables for the slab pours. The latter weighs 10,000 pounds, and the distance from where the crane sits to where the forming tables need to be placed is 185 feet. Hence, the gigantic size of the crane.

The $42.4 million Luddy Hall is scheduled to be completed in late 2017. For a real-time view of the ongoing construction, visit IU’s construction webcam (not compatible with Internet Explorer).

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