Published Mar 8, 2024
In Unique Picks


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In August, Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens announced a novel plan for tackling his city’s homeless problem by repurposing converted shipping containers into temporary housing. By November, the plan was in action, and ALL Crane Rental of Georgia, a member of the ALL Family of Companies, played a crucial role. Two all-terrain cranes from the branch handled heavy lifting to help transport the containers from their former location to a new temporary housing park in downtown Atlanta.

These are no ordinary shipping containers. All 21 were previously configured into hospital-grade satellite Covid-19 units for Atrium Health Center, in Macon, Ga. Since the slowdown of the virus, the hospital donated them to the City of Atlanta. The initiative, dubbed the Atlanta Rapid Housing Project, includes The Beck Group acting as the design-builder.

To move the containers from Macon to Forsyth Street in Atlanta, ALL had two job sites running simultaneously. At the hospital, a Liebherr LTM 1130-5.1 loaded shipping containers onto flatbeds – 12 bound for the Forsyth location, nine headed back to the factory for further modifications. At Forsyth, a Liebherr LTM 1250-5.1 offloaded each of the first 12 containers into the newly created Rapid Housing park, located near a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) rail station and a Greyhound bus depot.

At the first site, the shipping containers had been arranged on a paved lot across the street from Atrium Health Center. The Liebherr LTM 1130-5.1, on crane mats, was configured with 100 feet of boom at a 75-foot radius, full outriggers, and 92,600 pounds of counterweight. The weight of each 8-foot by 40-foot shipping container varied from 8,600 pounds up to 18,000 pounds, depending on how much finish work had already been done inside. “Many had already been outfitted with drywall, insulation, electrical, and boilers,” said T.J. Sokolowski, sales representative with ALL Crane Rental of Georgia.

At the destination location downtown, the operator of the Liebherr LTM 1250-5.1 was tasked with carefully lowering each container onto preset foundation piers. The crane was configured with 157 feet of boom at a 130-foot radius, full outriggers, and 194,000 pounds of counterweight. “The land there has an uneven grade,” said Sokolowski. “So piers ranged in height from two and a half feet to seven feet.” A crew on the ground made up of Beck and ALL personnel used tie lines to help guide each container to its foundation.

The operation took approximately 17 hours over two days. ALL will return to the downtown site in February to help set the remaining newly renovated containers as they return from the factory.

“This was a first for me,” said Sokolowski. “I’ve been involved with moving and transporting shipping containers before, but the story behind this job is truly unique.” 

The mayor’s office says the containers will serve as an innovative, cost-effective housing option and set a new architectural standard for future projects.