A total of 19 Grove rough-terrain cranes is at the heart of one of Asia's most ambitious road building projects. More than 8,000 workers are involved in the Jammu to Udhampur Highway project, where the Grove cranes are helping to build 54 bridges, 16 viaducts, eight cross ducts and four tunnels.
The Grove cranes, which are a mix of 60T capacity RT765E-2 units and 30T capacity RT530E-2 units, are all owned by main contractor Afcons Infrastructure. The company bought 26 Grove RTs in 2012, which brings its total fleet of Grove cranes to more than 30 units.
Biplob Chakraborty, Deputy General Manager of Equipment, Afcons, says, "The Grove cranes at the Jammu to Udhampur Highway project work along the length of the 235 km stretch of road much of which is very narrow and bordered by sheer cliff edges. This, along with the rugged terrain and fluctuating climate, are the main challenges the Grove cranes must overcome on site."
"Working on a narrow and treacherous road in either extreme heat or torrential rainùis no easy task, but the Grove cranes offer excellent manoeuvrability and are quick to set up. This means we have moved the project smoothly. This is a big job, and we need machines that can work round the clock to keep up with our demanding schedule. We are really happy with the cranes, and their versatility means we have completed a large part of the work already," adds Chakraborty.
The Grove cranes work on varied terrain and undulating hills, and are often found in awkward areas with limited space, lifting a huge variety of materials and structures. Their quick set up and ease-of-use is greatly appreciated by operators who must adapt to the difficult environment to work out the optimum position for each crane and each lift. As well as building the many bridges, viaducts and tunnels, the Grove RT765E-2 and RT530E-2 cranes are used to widen the highway. Among their many jobs, the cranes can be found pouring concrete, lifting metal plates, and moving steel and concrete girders. The cranes are so integral to the project that Manitowoc Crane Care appointed a service engineer to exclusively manage and maintain Afcons' Grove fleet. The Jammu to Udhampur Highway project started in May 2011 and is expected to finish by September this year. Local residents are eagerly awaiting its completion, as it will significantly reduce the time taken to travel between the two cities, from 10 hours to just five hours.
The four-lane project has been divided into six sub-projects, which includes widening the Jammu-Udhampur road (64 km), Chenani Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).
The Grove RT765E-2 features a 33.5 m long Megaform boom, found on much larger Grove all-terrain cranes, and it is able to perform up to 60T lifts. The Grove RT530E-2 offers a 29 m boom. Both cranes feature the industry-leading capabilities that Grove rough-terrain cranes are famous for, including an extremely rugged design with deep box section frames, four-steering modes and excellent pick-and-carry capabilities.