Friday, October 18, 2013

Hodge Hall: Week 75 -- Heavy and precise work

The 15,000-pound archway is the heaviest solid piece of limestone in the Hodge Hall project.
You could call it a milestone -- a 15,000-pound milestone.

The solid piece of limestone is the heaviest piece of stone on the Hodge Hall Undergraduate Center expansion.

The stone was brought in on a flatbed truck along with bundles of various other cuts of stone. The bundles were offloaded with a lift, but the archway remained on the truck, which had to back into the construction space on Fee Lane.

There, a 90-ton crane was in position to lift it into place above the door on the north entrance to the expansion. Crew members in highlighter-green T-shirts had the task of securing the stone and helping to guide it into place.

A worker secures the nylon straps to the crane hook.

Reinforced nylon straps were fashioned around the arch. pieces of cardboard were inserted between the stone and the straps to prevent the straps from chipping the pointed edges. The straps were secured, measured, centered. The crane operator slowly lifted the arch just enough to see if it was in balance. More adjusting, more measuring, more testing.

In the air: The stone is stabilized as it is slowly moved into position. 

Crew members help guide the stone in between the concrete blocks that frame the doorway. 

After several adjustments, the stone was in the air and on it's way to across the 40-foot gap from the truck to the doorway, where two crew members were waiting atop a scaffold to help maneuver it into place. It seemed to glide there in one movement under the crane operator's steady hand, without even the suggestion of a swing.

Easy does it.

The archway is placed carefully on pieces
 of limestone that will complete the entrance.
Slowly, it was guided between two sets of concrete block that will later be covered with limestone. The bottom part of the doorway had already been put in place, and the arch was carefully aligned with its components and lowered until it came to rest.

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