Four Potain MCT 385 topless tower cranes have now almost completed their work constructing the tallest cable-stayed road bridge in India. The cranes were purchased for the project by Afcons, the main contractor for the bridge build which forms a crucial part of the Khopoli-Kusgaon Connector Project – more commonly known as the Pune-Mumbai Missing Link.
The four MCT 385 cranes arrived on site in 2021. Transporting the slewing section in just seven truckloads reduced the difficulty of traveling along congested and winding roads. Accessing the remote jobsite was a further obstacle, with each crane initially assembled on the valley floor, to a starting height of 60 m, before being climbed throughout the project to reach their final working height of 181 m.
All four cranes had jibs permanently configured to 50 m, handling loads up to 6.4 t. Their maximum load of 20 t can be lifted out to a 17 m radius. In total, the Potain MCT 385 can accommodate jib lengths of up to 75 m, and maximum tip load at this length is 2.7 t.
“We’ve had a relationship with Manitowoc for many years, so we know we can count on Potain cranes for all of our infrastructure work,” said Amol Kulkarni, assistant general manager- procurement at Afcons. “Our reputation hinged on the successful outcome of this project, so Manitowoc was very helpful in ensuring we selected the right cranes to meet the technical and commercial requirements. And, of course, we knew we could rely on the excellent Potain service team to quickly resolve any issues and provide technical help.”
The cranes are working on a 13.3 km link that is designed to provide a straighter, safer road by bypassing the hairpin turns and areas of landslide risk in the Khandala Ghat area. Government body Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) oversees the ambitious project which has already resulted in several world records.
These include a record for the widest twin tunnels, which span 47 m over 10 lanes. The two tunnels are separated by a 650 m gap in the scenic Tiger Valley, which called for the construction of a bridge with parallel piers standing at a height of 170 m. These support the road deck approximately 100 m above the valley floor, in conjunction with four pylons averaging 132 m in height, and reaching a maximum of 182 m.
The Rs. 6695.36 crore (US$800 million) project is expected to officially open in January 2025, reducing travel distance by 6 km and travel time by approximately 25 minutes.