Crane tips in Elgin riverside project
By Mike Danahey email@example.com June 25, 2012 11:10AM
A crane towers over Riverside Drive in Elgin Monday morning following an incident where the crane broke throught the decking. June 25, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 27, 2012 6:12AM
ELGIN — The long-in-the-works Riverside Drive Promenade project came to an unexpected, temporary halt Monday morning when a 120,000-pound crane derailed and tipped precariously, its long arm hanging over the Fox River for hours while crews worked to right it.
According to Elgin Fire Battalion Chief Tim Michaels, just after 8 a.m., city public safety workers were called to the site along Riverside Drive just south of East Chicago Street and north of the parking deck for the Fountain Square condominiums.
Firefighters learned that a miscalculation had been made in putting down a track and supports for the crane. A difference of about 6 feet too close to the river meant the crane wasn’t on solid ground, and it broke through the pavement and leaned slightly toward the river, with its boom over the water.
No one was hurt in the mishap, Michaels said.
State Rep. Keith Farnham showed up at the scene to survey what happened. Farnham, D-Elgin, was one of the local politicians who lobbied for the project, getting the state funding it needed to move forward. Farnham said he had learned that the crane was new equipment recently purchased by IHC Construction of Elgin, which is managing the project, and that representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on the scene investigating.
At midday, straps from two trucks from AJ Maggio Construction of Elgin were helping steady the crane as city crews brought backfill to the site.
It took more than two hours past that for another crane to be brought to the spot to be set up on another set of tracks to help right the stuck crane.
According to the website for Chicago and Naperville-based Hitchcock Design Group, project construction began June 15 and is to continue through June 2013.
This month, workers are installing a cofferdam, and next month they will begin demolition of the existing deck structure and roadway. According to Encyclopedia Britannica online, a cofferdam is “a watertight enclosure from which water is pumped to expose the bed of a body of water in order to permit the construction of a pier or other hydraulic work.”
According to the Hitchcock website, the Riverside Drive parking deck was constructed in the early to mid-1960s. A portion of the deck was constructed over the Fox River and supported on structural piles. A second parking level had been removed, leaving the current street-level parking. In 2003, the remaining deck was closed as the deck began to fail and sections began to fall into the river.
The city has been working with the Hitchcock Design Group for about 12 years to plan and develop aspects of the downtown, including the promenade and Festival Park located just south of it.
In 2010, Elgin was awarded River’s Edge Redevelopment Zone funding from the state of Illinois in the amount of $8 million and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity funding in the amount of $1 million. The city council also approved $1.5 million in city funds, for a total budget of $10.5 million.
The promenade project will redevelop the stretch of riverfront from Festival Park north to Chicago Street, much of which used to be the parking deck. In its place will be a new two-lane, two-way street, 16 parallel parking spaces, a bike path and — if funding is available — space that could be used for small outdoor events. Costs for all things considered in the project initially had been estimated at $13 million, meaning work has been pared back some.