Articles and Case Studies

New Vision Center Puts the ‘Eye’ in Iron City

New Vision Center Puts the ‘Eye’ in Iron City

Tower cranes up at $2B UPMC project


As part of The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)’s $2 billion investment in three new hospitals, construction is underway on a 400,000-square-foot vision center dedicated to eye health. ALL Crane Rental of Pennsylvania and ALL Tower Crane, both members of the ALL Family of Companies, are providing lift services for the project.

As with most urban construction, space is at a premium. In this case, access is limited on three sides due to roadways and existing buildings. Finding the right mix of equipment became a paramount priority.

The workhorses for the duration are a Terex SK 575 tower crane with a 213-foot maximum hook height and a Potain MD 610 tower crane with a 272-foot maximum hook height. They will be used to lift rebar, concrete, glass, and other building materials necessary for construction of the new facility.

ALL’s MD 610, one of only a few in North America, is attractive for this job because the general contractor wanted to avoid having to tie-in, partly due to the different levels the finished building will have. This project encompasses an entire city block and was excavated to a depth of 45 feet on one end to 25 feet on the other end. So, while the overall building is 11 stories tall on the west side, it has just six on the south side (there’s also an eight-story parking garage running along the east side). The MD 610’s ability to free stand at 272 feet is unusual and perfectly suited for the work.Terex SK 575 tower crane

ALL also provided three other cranes for the new vision center. In the project’s early days, a Potain MDT 219 tower crane was used to construct a helipad on the roof of the existing hospital building. This was needed because the old helipad was being removed to make way for the new construction. A Terex SK 415 tower crane was on site for several months to accelerate the pace after delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, a 300-ton capacity Manitowoc MLC300 crawler crane was instrumental to construction for the new parking garage.

The MLC300 features a patented rail system to transfer the counterweight from back to front, depending on the boom extension. This helps reduce the crane’s operating footprint, which in turn helps reduce the ground-bearing pressure and the amount of ground preparation required for crane operations. The hospital site included vast underground infrastructure, making ALL’s MLC300 an ideal tool with which to work.

Beyond cranes, the customer’s decision to work with ALL was also based on the company’s planning and engineering capabilities and its service acumen. The customer wanted to know ahead of time what type of support was in place to maintain the cranes and was buoyed by ALL’s in-house inventory of more than 100,000 parts. They were further encouraged by the dedicated service teams available to be dispatched to the work site at any time.

The in-house engineering services provided by ALL Tower Crane became another important component in planning the project. It enabled the construction team to review multiple erection and lifting scenarios to arrive at the best course of action. This advance work led to an organized and smooth erection of the cranes, which gave the project stakeholders confidence that the work was in good hands.