The unlikely star of the pavilion build? A blinged-out construction crane
Howling winds that hammered the Rogue Valley late last month raised an obvious question for employees and neighbors of Asante Rogue Regional: How does that 205-foot crane on site handle such brute force?
A sustained wind of up to 25 mph is fine, but once it starts gusting up to 55 mph — as it did two weeks ago — crane work is suspended until things calm down, says Jim Mahar, EHS manager for Andersen Construction, the contractor for ARRMC’s six-floor pavilion under construction just north of the bed tower.
“Structurally, they’re designed to withstand hurricane-force, but we don’t run them in those types of conditions,” he says.
When the crane is not in operation, it’s put into “weather-vane mode” so the jib, or boom, will swing in the wind.
“It can move a full 360 degrees,” Mahar says. “Basically it’s like releasing the emergency brake on your car when it’s in neutral, it’ll roll and roll and roll. And it’s designed to alleviate structural strain.
“If you leave it parked … with a certain amount of wind force it’ll actually disengage that brake. They call it ‘blowing through the brake.’ It’s a safety feature, but it can damage the brake systems,” he says. “It’s like pulling your e-brake at 45 mph — not the greatest thing to do.”
ARRMC’s crane is festooned with red and white lights that snake up the tower, adding a little bling to Medford’s night sky. The lights were installed before the crane was put together on Jan. 6. Those lights can change, so you’ll likely see red, white and blue on the Fourth of July or pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires that cranes have three red lights — one at the very top and one on each end of the jib — but Andersen likes to dress up its cranes to help impart community spirit.
“The kids I talk to like the lights,” Mahar says. “They think they’re cool.”
The crane can pick up 11,900 pounds at a 262-foot radius and 55,000 pounds at a 72-foot radius, making it one of the highest-capacity cranes the Rogue Valley has seen. At 205 feet to the crow’s nest, it’s likely also one of the tallest – though the mobile crane that built it reached 245 feet. The longest part of the site crane’s jib measures 265 feet.
A series of 14 ladders winds through the center of the tower to the cab, where the crane operator sits.
The $420 million, 323,600-square-foot pavilion is expected to be completed in fall 2023.
Watch for concrete trucks
You’ll see a lot more concrete trucks rumbling in and out of the ARRMC campus in the next few weeks as footings and a six-inch-thick slab are poured for the pavilion’s foundation.
Some of the pours can range up to 20,000 square feet of concrete and will need to start at 5 a.m., says Jim Mahar of Andersen Construction.
“We try to get the concrete poured early, and then we can get our finishing crews on it to do all their magic to make it look good,” he says.
“We’re going to put a lot of concrete down and we’re getting out of the mud, which is always everyone’s favorite part.
“It’s going to get real fun real fast.”