The new ISS 45/90 makes the cut in New York

Published 22/2, 2018 at 16:42

An Indeco ISS 45/90 is cutting up the steel structure of the old Kosciuszko Bridge in one of the most important demolition jobs taking place in New York City.

Opened in 1939, the Kosciuszko Bridge crossing Newtown Creek to link Green Point, Brooklyn, with Maspeth Queens, has been out of service since last April and is now undergoing demolition. Despite that it had been renovated in 1973, and again in 1996-97, the structure was constantly being monitored since the early 2000s.  Following a decision to replace the 1,835m long bridge, in 2009 the New York State Dept. of Transportation (NYS-DOT) launched a plan for the construction of two new cable stayed bridges, while maintaining the original name of the bridge, to effectively improve traffic flow. 


A complex demolition 

The contract for the construction of the first new bridge was awarded to a joint venture comprising of Skanska, Kiewit and ECCO III Enterprises, which finished building the first bridge last April. The JV was also assigned the demolition of the entire old bridge, which started last July when the main span (91.5m in length, 27m wide, 15.2m high and a weight of almost 2,268t) crossing Newtown Creek was first sectioned and then, after being lowered 38m via a strand jacking system, set onto two barges for transport to a recycling facility where it would be demolished. 

The problem remained of how to demolish the approaches, which were the most extensive part of the whole bridge (totalling over 1,700m), consisting of 21 spans ranging from 36m to 70m resting on reinforced concrete piers for a total of 31,500t of steel and 68,000m3 of reinforced concrete. After an in-depth analysis of the original bridge framing plan, it was decided that the most efficient way to demolish the old structure was to perform cuts in key points, then use explosives to ‘set it down’ in a single blast to collapse all 21 spans onto a bed of dirt that would soften the impact. 

Once down, the structure would be mechanically demolished (shears for the steel structures, hydraulic hammers for the piers in reinforced concrete). The JV subcontracted the demolition of the Kosciuszko Bridge to Breeze, one the major contractors in the New York City area specializing in demolition. Considering the size of the structure and the timeframe to complete the job (by year end), Breeze decided to make minimal use of flame-cutting, opting instead for shears mounted on an excavator. For this reason, the contractor purchased a brand new ISS 45/90 from Indeco to add to its fleet of demolition equipment. Demolition started with the first span on the Queens side, which was entirely demolished using shears. This was not collapsed to the ground using explosives, since the only access to the last exit to Brooklyn could not be blocked and because explosives would have induced stress to the successive spans, which had already been prepped with cuts and sectioning for later blasting. 


A challenging demolition

The number of structural members of the bridge and their size called for powerful, hard wearing shears. The web of some of the I-beams had a thickness of over 5mm, while the upper chords measured 34mm in height, 54mm in width, and were built with steel elements 32, 19, 16 and 13mm in thickness. 

Breeze, a long time user of Indeco equipment (the company owns 22 hammers, 2 shears and 2 multi-grabs), bought the ISS 45/90 from Indeco dealer Alessi Equipment. The ISS 45/90 is made entirely of special extra strength Hardox, and due to a cylinder that can manage pressures up to 700 bar, the attachment has the structural strength and the power to take on virtually any type of job. The shears also feature a dual guide that keeps the jaws perfectly aligned and prevents buckling. The dual regeneration valve speeds up the movement of the jaw (accelerating opening and closing, thus improving productivity), while the V-Ripper RazorDual piercing design of both the upper and lower jaws improves cutting performance.  

In common with all other Indeco shears, the ISS 45/90 also boasts a very favourable weight-to-power ratio which improves the efficiency of the attachment. Breeze coupled the shears to a Komatsu PC 800 via an original Indeco special mounting bracket specifically adapted to fit the boom carrier. At times, the cutting process proved challenging due to the size of the structures. As known, when I-beams are cut, the shears first bend the web and flanges, doubling (and sometimes tripling) the thickness that is to be cut. Despite the sizes of the various members and the enormous amount of steel to be sectioned, the ISS 45/90 delivered top-notch performance. 

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