Fully deployed

The double-boomed crane slowly raises the top of the new tower, weighing more than 50,000 pounds, on Saturday, March 21.

Photo contributed by Ken Noesen

A major Barron municipal improvement took a big step toward completion over the weekend of March 20-22, 2020, as a gigantic crane lifted portions of the city’s new, $2-plus-million water tower into place.

When fully deployed, the crane is 300 feet high – an altitude high enough to require the contractor, South Dakota-based Maguire Iron, Inc., to obtain a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Based out of Grand Meadow, Minn., a community located about 20 miles east of Austin, Minn., the crane arrived in town last Thursday, according to company owner Steve Meyerhofer.

Rain prevented its use the first day it was in town, and it was too windy on Friday, March 20, as workers rigged three-inch-thick cable from pulleys mounted on the boom.

“The pulleys are made from hard plastic, but they’re really dense and tough,” Meyerhofer said Tuesday, March 24.

Besides needing the main boom, the crew also deployed what Meyerhofer called a “mega wing” and a “luffing jib” to reconfigure the boom and create space to help lift the main column and two halves of the tank into place.

“The column on top of the base cone weighs 88,000 pounds and is 83 feet tall,” he said. “The bottom of the ‘ball’ section weighed 85,000 pounds and the top weighed 50,000 pounds.” Both halves were 52 feet in diameter.

Manufactured in Wilhelmshaven, Germany, by a company that does business with Manitowoc Company, the mobile cranes sell for up to $2.9 million new, Meyerhofer said.

The crane left Barron Monday for a new assignment putting up a wind turbine, but it was idled (at least for awhile) when one of the workers reported that his girlfriend had tested positive for coronavirus.

“So, the whole crew is quarantined for 14 days,” Meyerhofer said.