Enerpac’s Strand Jacks Used in Kosciuszko Bridge Demolition – Heavy Lift News
23 Aug 2018

Enerpac’s Strand Jacks Used in Kosciuszko Bridge Demolition

The Kosciuszko Bridge spans across Newtown Creek between the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Opened in 1939, the 6,000-foot truss bridge is part of Interstate 278, and is known locally as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) and notorious for the worst bottlenecks in New York City.


To reduce congestion and traffic delays, as well as increase traffic capacity, the New York State Department of Transportation spent $555 million to replace the aging truss bridge with a majestic, cable-stayed bridge. The new bridge began accommodating two-way traffic in early 2017 and the demolition of the old spans started in July 2017.


Bigge Crane and Rigging was selected to supply the equipment to remove the largest span, which measured 125 feet high and 300 feet in length. To safely meet the aggressive demolition schedule, a joint venture of Kiewit/Skanska used Enerpac Strand Jacks (HSL50006) to lower the main span onto barges. This provided an efficient and cost-effective solution for the project.


The Enerpac strand jacks have 500 metric ton capacity each and for this job operated as a set of 8 jacks. These jacks were later to be split into sets of four to ensure the demolition schedule was met. Plans were later changed, and the rest of the K-Bridge was imploded using explosives. 


The HSL 50006 strand jack features a sophisticated, proven software program that enhances safety by synchronizing the motion of the strand jacks regardless of varying loads per lifting point. A trusted and proven technology, approximately 2,500 Enerpac strand jacks are in operation globally.


The Kosciuszko Bridge team removed the main span of the former bridge by lowering it onto awaiting barges in the Newtown Creek. Truss demolition required building strong lifting points on the existing structure.  Crews first removed the concrete median barrier, sidewalks, light poles and then installed 130-foot tall temporary steel towers at each of the four corners of the main span.

The Kiewit/Skanska team executed the large pick flawlessly using the Enerpac strand jacks. Taking the large span down and dismantling it off-site was much faster and safer than performing the tasks at elevation. Steel cables (strand) connected between the jacks and the load were then used to lower the span approximately 125 feet at an estimated 20 feet per hour, safely to the barges.

“Bigge was an excellent partner for Enerpac, and is unique among dealers because they can also operate the equipment they sell,” said Mike Beres, Americas Sales Director for Heavy Lifting Technology, Enerpac. “Bigge provides their customers with onsite support, after-sale service and equipment maintenance. They also have extensive expertise in heavy lifting.”


“Most of the Kosciuszko Bridge is over land, and due to the number of offices underneath the bridge, there was not a lot of room to maneuver,” said Beres. “We were confident with the equipment chosen and Kiewit/Skanska combined with Bigge had the equipment and heavy lifting experience necessary to safely and efficiently remove the span and keep the project on schedule.”

The first phase of the project was a success for all of the partners in removing the largest span. The remaining spans were imploded early October 2017 in order to free up space to complete construction of the second span of the new bridge. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2019. There will be five Queens-bound travel lanes of the BQE and four Brooklyn-bound travel lanes, plus a 20-feet-wide combination bike and walk path with spectacular views. The bridge is expected to accommodate 200,000 cars per day compared to only 10,000 per day on the old bridge.