July 2020 Crane Association Newsletter - Technical Corner
Witnessing a 750-tonne crane topple in Australia recently on the internet reminded Scott McLeod of the importance of being critically aware of the road you’re driving a crane on.
You may have the polite urge to pullover and let the queue of cars pass, but to do so without knowing what’s underneath you could be costly.
It may seem a silly rule to follow, Scott says, but an all too important one, nonetheless.
“One of the key things I think to remember when you’re on open road is that you’re overweight.
“It’s not just the open road either. This obviously applies when entering on to different worksites.”
Like anyone long in the industry tooth, Scott knows first-hand the consequences if you don’t.
While driving onto a site, the whole left-hand side of his crane began sinking because the ground couldn’t support the crane’s weight.
Being “well and truly bogged and bogged quickly”, he only just managed to save the crane from rolling over.
“And then we come to this LTM 1750 that had a mishap in Australia just recently, only about six months ago we saw an LG1750 do the same. These are big cranes moving around.
“I have to hammer home, too, that when moving cranes in a partially rigged configuration – you must follow the manufacturer’s guidance to a ‘t’.
“You want to be 100 per cent confident in the surface that you’re driving on. So that may mean engaging a geotechnical engineer to investigate the road you’re traveling on in some form of heavily configured set up.
“My thinking is that that shouldn’t be the first option that jumps to mind. But that is such a time saver; it can save days in setting up those big cranes.”
Being mobile in your crane throughout the country’s many roads, streets and state highways comes with responsibility.
Being both overweight and exceeding the maximum dimensions allowed for standard vehicles, means following permits – the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and local district versions.
“It’s really important that people understand that you have to follow both. It’s not okay to be on a bit of road without the permission of that owner of that road,” Scott says.
“Look at the NZTA permit on the NZTA website; there’s a whole lot of overweight permit maps which give you a bit of guidance on what roads you can travel on. Utilise the Bridge Engineering Self Supervision knowledge, too.
It focuses you on what parts of the road and what permits you can drive on, where you can drive and what bridges you can cross and what bridges you can’t.
“Therefore, if you turn off one of these state highways onto a local district road, you then know what local area permit you now require. You’re looking at working with a local council and they tend to either do it in house or outsource it.
“So, the variance of how those permits look is quite significant, meaning it’s critically important to read those permits and understand them properly. Because there are differences in NZTA’s permits. in NZTA’s permits. The fine print in those permits is much more important; now is not a good time to risk a fine.”
Scott McLeod Crane Association of New Zealand’s Past President
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