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Maid of the mist mayday

Clark Rigging responds to the call with the Terex® AC 350/6 and AC 500-2 all terrain cranes



NIAGARA FALLS, New York, April, 2014 – It’s not always the size, weight or volume of lifts that poses the greatest challenge for a project. Sometimes the feat is just navigating a previously uncharted territory and accomplishing the difficult task in a tight time frame. The payoff is the satisfaction of knowing that the crew overcame the challenges, built something that benefits the community and improves an old abandoned land area.

Crane Rigging and Rental Corp. of Lockport, N.Y. and two of its cranes, the Terex® AC 350/6 and Terex AC 500-2 all terrain cranes, recently completed one of these jobs. The crane rental contractor was one of the first responders to help the State of New York rescue a family-run business that has thrilled countless visitors and many celebrities with the majesty of the Niagara Falls.

For more than 150 years, the Maid of the Mist ships have operated on the Niagara River Gorge. Initially, they served as ferries to transport people, cargo and carriages across the Niagara River below the waterfalls. In the modern era, the Maid of the Mist Corporation had leases in both Canada and New York to take spectators on a memorable tour of Niagara Falls. “The vessels would dock for the winter in Canada, since they had the infrastructure,” says Steve Clark, Vice President of Clark Rigging and Rental Corp.

That is, until the Maid of the Mist Corporation lost both its lease to operate in Canada and the docks that went along with it. With no place to dry-dock the vessels during the winter on the New York side of the Falls, the Maid of the Mist Corporation faced the potential of ceasing operations and the State of New York was in jeopardy of losing tourism revenues.

Both the Corporation and New York representatives quickly searched for a suitable location to build a dry dock facility. With few viable options, the State came up with a solution that would allow it to transform an abandoned property, while enabling the Maid of the Mist voyages to continue. “They chose the site of the old Schoellkopf Power Station for the new dock,” mentions Clark. “The plant collapsed into the Niagara River Gorge in the 1950s.”

The site north of Niagara Falls had the full backing of the State for the $32 million renovation project. “We value the Maid of the Mist; we wanted to keep the Maid of the Mist here; we had a parcel we believed we could be better utilizing for the State and for tourism; and we put the two together,” said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo while visiting Niagara Falls, N.Y. on December 4, 2012.

50 Years Untouched

Finding the site was the easy part. Building the infrastructure to support the two vessels and observation area would be the hard part. “Nothing had been done to the site since the Schoellkopf plant collapsed into the River,” mentions Clark. Melanie Parker, Sales Administrator for Clark Rigging added, “There was no access to the site for the equipment to build the harbor crane. Everything had to be lowered by crane,” from a cliff overlooking the gorge approximately 150 ft (45.7 m) above the river.

Clark Rigging’s crew was first on site with its 400-ton (350-t) capacity class Terex AC 350/6 all terrain crane, equipped with its full counterweight and 210-ft (64-m) main boom. Starting in May of 2013 and lasting for six weeks, the AC 350/6 crane was the workhorse of the project, aiding with initial site clean-up efforts. “We averaged 75 picks a day with the crane, lowering equipment down into the gorge,” says Clark.

While Clark Rigging’s AC 350/6 crane was lowering supplies to clear the gorge of trash and overgrowth and prepare the riverside for a new dry dock and observation area, work commenced on constructing a buck hoist elevator for a more efficient way to get workers down to the project site. Additionally, a high capacity ringer crane was erected to lower cranes, trailers, pieces of the harbor crane and other heavy components into the project site.

Among the equipment the AC 350/6 all terrain crane lowered into the gorge were skid steer loaders, dozers, all terrain trucks and a 25,000-lb (11,340 kg) excavator. “We were working at about a 110-ft (33.5-m) radius to lower material 150 ft (45.7 m) into the gorge,” says Clark. “It’s a challenge working from that height in off-road conditions, where the terrain is not level.”

As the riverside dock area took shape and with the ringer crane in place, Clark Rigging moved out its 400-ton (350-t) crane and prepared its larger Terex AC 500-2 all terrain crane for the next project phase, construction of the harbor crane. “The AC 350/6 was the right crane to get this project started,” says Clark. “It had the capacity we needed and offered easy set-up,” even with the project’s marginal ground conditions.

Lifting the Mist

By September of 2013, work had progressed to the point where Clark Rigging’s crew was on site with the Terex AC 500-2 all terrain crane, complete with its main boom and full counterweight to erect the 200-ton (181-t) harbor crane. With its 600-ton (500-t) lift capacity, the AC 500-2 offers the highest capacity of any eight-axle crane on the market. Boasting the shortest vehicle length in its capacity class and a 183.7-ft (56-m) telescoping boom, the AC 500-2 crane features the largest system length that can travel at a 12-ton (10.9-t) axle load, increasing lifting flexibility at the job site.

Since there were no access roads leading to the dock area, the AC 500-2 crane was placed into the gorge from atop the cliff by the ringer crane. “It was lowered in two pieces, the main crane and the boom,” says Clark. “The counterweight was lowered two at a time.”

A Terex RT 655 rough terrain crane was also placed into the gorge. “The rough terrain crane assisted with boom installation on the AC 500-2,” says Parker.

Since the ringer crane did not have the reach to extend to the river’s edge, a trailer was also positioned in the gorge to efficiently transport the harbor crane components to the edge of the water. For harbor crane construction, a total of eight components with an average weight of 70 tons (63.5 t) were hoisted and positioned by the AC 500-2 crane. Additional components positioned by the Terex all terrain crane included the 60-ton (54.4-t) crane base, 70-ton (63.5-t) slewing gear and two 70-ton (63.5-t) floating docks.

A 90-ton (81.6-t) capacity, 58-ft (17.7-m) spreader beam was placed in a tandem lift using the AC 500-2 crane and a crawler crane. “We worked at a short 30-ft (9.1-m) radius with the AC 500-2 crane,” says Clark. “There were no major challenges with the lifts, and we were finished with the harbor crane within two weeks.”

On November 1, 2013, the two Maid of the Mist vessels were pulled from the Niagara River by the 200-ton (181.4-t) harbor crane and place on their newly built dry dock at the former Shoellkopf Power Station site. The site’s two new platforms – one atop of the gorge and a second alongside the Niagara River – are now connected by a new elevator, giving pedestrian accessibility to the Niagara River Gorge, so the visitors will have a new way to experience the grandeur of this national treasure.

About the Terex® AC 350/6 all terrain crane

By far the most compact six-axle all terrain crane in the 400-ton (350-t) capacity class currently available on the market, the Terex AC 350/6 boasts exceptional lifting capacity and operator safety. Featuring a state-of-the-art fall arrest system for safe access during work at height and patented Terex Easy Luffing Jib Rigging System, the AC 350/6 all terrain crane provides fast, easy rigging with safety in mind.

Offering a maximum telescopic boom length of up to 210 ft (64 m) for an impressively compact maximum system length of 412.4 ft (125.7 m), this powerful, versatile six-axle crane can out-lift the performance of larger cranes in the 440-ton (400-t) capacity class in a number of jobsite situations. Additional attachments can be loaded onto conventional trucks within a width of 8.4 ft (2.55 m).

About the Terex® AC 500-2 all terrain crane

With a carrier just 56-ft (17.1-m) long, the Terex AC 500-2 all terrain crane is the most compact eight-axle crane in its class. A maximum working height of 478 ft (145.8 m) can be achieved with a luffing fly jib. The crane offers enormous power across the full lifting capacity range, through features such as the improved design of the main boom cross-section and the reinforced sideways superlift system. The star-shaped outrigger layout helps to ensure the stability required.

Short setup times and the IC-1 control system's ease of use make for safe crane operations and comfortable working conditions. The carefully thought-out drive design of the crane provides outstanding transfer of engine power, yielding excellent performance on both the highway and the jobsite.

About Clark Rigging and Rental Corp.

From its start in 1954, Clark Rigging and Rental Corp. has grown to become one of North America’s largest crane rental supply companies. The company serves all of central and western New York to the Southern Tier and northern Pennsylvania. With its headquarters in Lockport, N.Y. and branch operations in Rochester and Syracuse, Clark Rigging is a full-service lifting rental house, providing job site analysis, transportation, manpower to run the equipment and 24/7 service support.

For more information on Clark Rigging, visit

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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