Gillespie Crane Services hired the spreader from Kennards Lift and Shift for work on the new $52 million interchange, which includes the New England Highway passing over Weakley’s Drive near Beresfield.

The spreader is completely modular and can be varied in length up to a maximum of 20m. Maximum load capacity is 145 tonne at 13.5m in length. At its full length of 20 metres, the spreader can lift up to 76 tonne.

Utilising the spreader with their 400 tonne mobile crane, Gillespie Crane Services lifted 5 concrete girders, (3 spans of 5 girders each span, which later become stressed together to form one span) into position during the operation over three nights.

Gillespie’s Operations Manager Paul Churchill said that although they had an array of heavy-duty spreaders, none had the rating needed at the lengths required, so the Kennards Lift and Shift unit was ideal.

“The overpass’ bridge section is the longest single span, simply supported (supported on bearing pads), concrete construction bridge in NSW and possibly Australia.

“The girders varied in length and weight, and the heaviest was 81 tonne, which gave a gross of 88 tonne, including the bar, lifting equipment and our hook.

“The girders were an incredible 2.76m high, and no one involved in the project, including the transport drivers who have carted beams all over the country, had heard of or seen ‘I’ section concrete girders as tall,” said Paul Churchill.

Paul Churchill said the modular nature of the spreader was an important advantage. “It saved our client having to have a purpose built bar specifically fabricated for this project only,” he said. “It can be changed in length to fit the lifting points.

“You have a whole combination of varying lengths which bolt together, so you can play around and get something pretty close to the money. The bar can also be broken down into lengths no longer than 6 metres, for ease of transport on a small truck.

“Another one of its strengths is its end lug design, which means that you do not lose the large amount of head height you would normally lose with a conventional end lug design.

“This proved very handy on this project as we only had an estimated two metres of head height left at the furthest lift radius.”

Kennards Lift and Shift has hire centres in Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.