On The Job Versatility: Crane Drilling

Limited Access?? Maybe Crane Drilling Will Do It?

By: Mikayla Sockwell

Most all contractors have had to deal with limited access issues at some point within their careers. It comes in many shapes and sizes, but the more time I spend in the construction industry the more I have come to realize that working with limited access is almost inevitable. When a limited access job site also needs a rock drill, creativity, versatility, and innovation becomes key to helping the contractor come up with a solution to get the job done.

Adaptability and Limited Access Drilling

In all honesty, I am relatively new to the rock drilling industry. However, in my two years of working at WORD Rock Drills I have heard dozens of impressive stories about how contractors overcome the constraints of limited access drilling. Most recently, one of our customers at WORD purchased an M125 drill motor to do just that.

Lakes & Rivers Contracting out of Illinois won a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation to remove and replace a pier protection cell for I-80 over the Des Plaines River in Joliet, IL. The previous cell, having been struck by a barge, had been badly damaged and had fallen. To replace the damaged pier, Lakes & Rivers Co. planned to anchor a replacement cell into the underlying limestone with 2.5” rock anchors, increasing the cells ability to withstand barge impacts in the future. In order to complete the anchoring process, Lakes & Rivers Co. needed to be able to drill 24 rock anchors in a cell that was only 26’ in diameter and approximately 10’ below the top of the sheet piling.

Creating Drilling Solutions

Confronted with limited access within the cell, Lakes & Rivers Co. knew that conventional drilling rigs would be challenging to put in place and operate once inside. As an alternative solution, they reached out to WORD Rock Drills and purchased our M125 drill motor. This motor provided the needed torque and DTH hammer capabilities to drill the 6” diameter holes needed for this job. They then built a sled system onto their existing crane and mounted the drill onto the sled, allowing the drill to travel up and down the crane leads to drill.  

Working With WORD

Through this drilling method, Lakes & Rivers Co. was able to successfully complete their job, mending the protection cell and helping to keep the bridge safe from future harm. Their purchase of a WORD M125 drill motor also increased the capabilities of their fleet for future projects. When asked about their experience working with WORD Rock Drills, Lakes & Rivers Co. Project Superintendent on the job replied, “Working with WORD was a great experience, their salesman, John, helped me through specifying the equipment for the project and was willing to offer some input to follow-up questions we had through the drilling procedure.”

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