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Terex cranes helps ease Mexico City congestion problems


Mexico City – November 2013. Mexico DF is one of the world’s largest cities with a population estimated to be more than 20 million and still growing rapidly. To develop the city’s transportation infrastructure to cope with the increasing population, Ingenieros Civiles Asociados SA (ICA) is using Terex® all terrain cranes on a major highway project. While major investments have been made in public transport, Mexico City still has one of highest concentrations of cars in the world - more than 5.5 million vehicles – which may double over the next years.


To relieve the potential gridlock situation, new road links have to be constructed. However, building in a massively congested city poses huge challenges. The solution has been to construct a major new elevated road to the south of the city. The first section is the 11.3km long Autopista Urbana Sur (Urban Highway South) being built by Mexican contractor ICA Ingenieria at a cost of about US$450 million. The highway has been designed to alleviate the congestion to the south side of the City cutting journey times by half. This new road features four lanes - two in each direction - but also includes some stretches of six lane carriageway. The road connects San Geronimo to Tlalpan Viaduct at the second deck level of the City’s existing elevated peripheral highway.


Prefabricated construction


Given the tight space considerations and tricky logistics in the City the road is being built using prefabricated concrete sections made about 40km away from the construction area and erected during the night. The prefabricated concrete production facility had 22 hectares, 15 fabrication tables, and 120 molds. With an industrialized process and a workforce of over 2.000 workers, it was able to deliver all pieces on time to be transported and mounted each evening. Approximately 18.000 prefabricated elements were utilized for this project, which were installed between 23:00 and 05:00 hours, the only time the vehicular transit was interrupted. This is the first time in Mexico that this construction method has been used to build a complete overhead highway and it is also the largest urban project of its kind so far.


ICA specializes in large infrastructure, heavy construction and civil engineering projects. As well as employing 40,000 employees, the company also owns 12 Terex cranes including several 500 tonne capacity class AC 500-2 all-terrain cranes which are being used for erecting the main concrete columns, beams and components. Larger components are lifted using tandem lifts.

“Because it is an urban jobsite with limited space for heavy lifting and work access was only available for six hours each night between 23.00 and 05.00, we needed a crane that had quick travel speed, rapid set up time and excellent lift capacity,” said Ignacio Villaseñor Sanchez, ICA equipment director. “The AC 500-2 fit the bill perfectly.”


“The cranes performed faultlessly and had 97 percent availability, only stopping for planned maintenance,” said Sanchez. “The crane was extremely reliable and fitted with good safety systems. Everything related to the set-up and rigging went very smoothly. Obvious challenges included the lack of space on the job site, however the AC 500-2 is one of the most maneuverable and compact cranes in its class, which helped.”


The time taken for the Terex AC 500-2 to drive from the depot to the jobsite was about 30 minutes and another hour was needed before it was fully rigged and ready to lift. Between four and five people were involved in the rigging process and just two additional low loader ballast wagons were needed.


Some column sections weighed up to 425 tonnes while the 36 to 48 meter long and 4 to 6.5 meter wide (depending on the number of lanes they carry) horizontal sections weighed up to 350 tonnes. In total there are about 20,000 pre-cast components made from high strength concrete including about 500 columns varying in height from five to 25 meters. Sections were prefabricated at a pre-casting facility using a process that took just 48 hours. Once cured the units are transported and placed in to position on-site.


“The AC 500s are lifting at an average height of about 20 meters and carrying out either single or tandem lifts between 10 to 220 tonnes at a radius between 10 to 15 metres - typical low radius heavy lifting,“ said Bernardo Quintana Kawage, General Director of ICA. “First the cranes are positioned on site and the modular elements to be lifted arrive in sequence. Once lifted and positioned they are welded and secured. Then the next element arrives and the process is repeated over and over. When the cranes need to move, they remove their own counterweight onto a low-loader and then move to the next jobsite. In all, between seven and 15 people were needed to set-up the crane and carry out the lift.”


Logistics critical – Local Support from Distributor

Super-efficient logistics are critical to enable the construction to keep to the 14 month schedule with three to four massive sections being installed each night. Because of the size of the main elements, they are erected one at a time although smaller elements can be erected simultaneously. The support columns feature an integrated shoe and head design. This makes the erection process much quicker although precise positioning of the columns is needed to locate each unit into deep foundations prepared in advance.


“A delay either from transporting the elements or erecting them would be catastrophic to the construction schedule,” said Kawage. “What really helped with the progress was that the cranes performed flawlessly, helped by the excellent support from Terex and Maquinter, its distributor in Mexico, which supplied rapid technical support and assistance when needed. Although the cranes were very hi-tech they were reliable, easy to operate and suitable for the level of operators available giving all the information needed for the field engineers to make the necessary decisions.”


The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.


About the Terex® AC 500-2 all terrain crane

With a carrier just 17.1 m (56 ft) long, the Terex® AC 500-2 is the most compact eight-axle crane in its class. A maximum working height of 145.8 m (478 ft) can be achieved with a luffing fly jib. The crane offers enormous power across the full lifting capacity range, thanks to features such as the improved design of the main boom cross-section and the reinforced sideways superlift system. The star-shaped outrigger layout provides excellent stability. Short setup times and the IC-1 control system's ease of use make for safe crane operations and comfortable working conditions. The crane is powered by the latest engine technology, delivering 480 kW / 653 hp at 1800 rpm. The carefully thought-out drive design provides outstanding transfer of engine power, yielding excellent performance on both the highway and the jobsite.


About ICA

With over 65 years of history, over 10.000 km of highways built and over 220 km of metro lines built, ICA is the largest civil engineering company in Mexico and one of the largest in Latin America. With corporate values including quality, integrity, service, efficiency and innovation, ICA offers innovative solutions to overcome the most challenging and complex construction projects in Mexico and the world.


About Terex

Terex Corporation is a diversified global manufacturer of a broad range of equipment that is focused on delivering reliable, customer-driven solutions for many applications, including the construction, infrastructure, quarrying, mining, shipping, transportation, refining, energy, utility and manufacturing industries. Terex reports in five business segments: Aerial Work Platforms; Construction; Cranes; Material Handling & Port Solutions; and Materials Processing. Terex offers financial products and services to assist in the acquisition of equipment through Terex Financial Services. More information can be found at




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