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Manitowoc crawler cranes give U.S. bridge contractor the edge

Manhattan Road & Bridge has boosted its fleet with four MLC100-1 lattice-boom crawler cranes. Recent updates to Manitowoc’s small crawler line have saved the contractor significant setup and maintenance time.

Todd Strande, division manager for Manhattan Road & Bridge and self-proclaimed crawler enthusiast, was sold on the Manitowoc MLC100-1 at first sight when he visited the Manitowoc Cranes factory in late 2019. His experience at the facility in Shady Grove, Pennsylvania, where he saw firsthand the attention to detail that goes into every crane model, validated Manhattan Road & Bridge’s decision to grow its crawler fleet with four Manitowoc MLC100-1 units.

Shortly after the cranes had been delivered, the crawlers were already proving their worth to the company while setting bridge spans at locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas.

In July of 2021, one of the company’s MLC100-1 crawlers participated in a two-crane pick that lifted the longest precast concrete bridge beam ever fabricated in Oklahoma. The lift took place during a bridge rehabilitation project on the I-44 Turner Turnpike and was overseen by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. At 148 ft (45 m) long, six feet (1.8 m) tall and 148,500 lbs, the Type J pre-cast concrete beam was placed in tandem with another of Manhattan Road & Bridge’s crawler cranes, a Manitowoc 14000.

One key reason for the company’s choice of the MLC100-1 is its efficient setup process. The crawler’s self-assembly hook allows the operator to install the counterweight without an assist crane, turning it into a single-person job. A single segment of hoist line with a button termination is routed through sheaves in the boom butt, eliminating the need to assemble the boom top. The gantry is also utilized to lift the entire upperworks counterweight assembly into place, via remote control.

“We feel that Manitowoc provides the total package in the MLC100-1, with competitive capacities, ease-of-assembly and access for maintenance,” Strande said. “Manitowoc has made a new crane that pairs classic crawler looks with modern service and transport features.”

Bridge-building experts

Manhattan Road & Bridge is one of the largest family-held construction firms in the United States. It is part of the Manhattan Construction Group that includes commercial, pipeline, heavy civil and specialty construction.

True to its name, Manhattan Road & Bridge concentrates on new bridge and bridge rehab projects, and it operates in three states. The bulk of jobs are in Oklahoma and Arkansas, with additional operations in Florida.


Manhattan Road & Bridge’s Manitowoc crane journey began over seven years ago, when the company began expanding its crawler fleet so it could operate at the highest levels of timeliness and efficiency. All major manufacturers were taken into consideration, but one factor tilted heavily in Manitowoc’s favor — the company already had a long history with dealer Kirby-Smith Machinery, who provided uptime support for the company’s other construction equipment.

“That relationship was a big factor in our decision,” Strande said.

Kirby-Smith Machinery guided Manhattan Road & Bridge through the purchase of its first Manitowoc crawler, a 220 USt (200 t) Manitowoc 14000.

“Based on our positive experience with the 14000, as soon as Manitowoc announced the new MLC100-1, we wanted to get a look at that crane,” Strande said.

Manhattan Road & Bridge sent mechanics and operators to the Manitowoc factory in Pennsylvania to get hands-on experience with the new machine.

The mechanics were particularly impressed by the ample space for service access, and in particular, the ability to reach the engine and disconnects without having to dissemble the crane — a major time saver.

The new crane model also included the switchover from EPIC controls to Manitowoc’s Crane Control System (CCS), greatly simplifying troubleshooting, as well as giving operators an intuitive graphical display console and jog dial for easier navigation and data input.

“Manitowoc has made a new crane that pairs classic crawler looks with modern service and transport features,”

Todd Strande, Division Manager for Manhattan Road & Bridge


“One of the biggest benefits with this crane, one that we initially overlooked, is the boom nose camera,” Strande said. “It gives the operator another vantage point for picking up a signal from riggers who can now be 100 ft [30 m] away and still clearly visible from the cab. It allows us to move our loads more efficiently and not rely only on radio or line of sight.

“These crawlers bring new technology that improves how they are assembled and serviced, plus they add features, like winch and boom nose cameras. Together, these updates are already accelerating our overall productivity,” Strande concluded.


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