Lexington, KY – Headquartered in Grand Junction, Colorado, Girardi Crane and Rigging, Inc. has decided that travelling through canyons and up mountains with 170,000 lbs. (77 110.7 kg) beneath them is a piece of cake. Travelling two hundred miles, with the last dozen miles dressed in tire chains and dolly tire chains on their Link-Belt HTC-3140 is what really gives this crew its distinction.
“Because we service such a wide, large area, we use the Link-Belt truck mounted cranes because they can travel so much faster, and haul all their counterweight, except the cheeks, with them wherever they go. The benefit for the Link-Belt is to do more with less. You have one operator versus two if you couldn’t carry it all in one load. You have more capacity and better chart with that counterweight. And, of course, there is less expense using fewer trucks since it is all so self-contained. So more is less,” explained Victor Girardi.
Truck cranes are the staple machine model because of the area Girardi covers in western Colorado and a portion of the surrounding states. A branch office in Aztec, NM also takes in the many gas plants serviced. The company caters to high energy facilities, plant maintenance shutdowns, and heavy equipment distribution hauled to remote locations.
Starting with the HTC-8690, progressing up to the HTC-86100, and then to the HTC-3140 has enabled the company to provide the needs of plants and facilities normally two hours away. With several years under its belt, the HTC-86100 has over 4,000 hours of use with over 36,500 miles (58 741.0 km) driven on the lower carrier. The HTC-3140, being newer, has only 1,233 hours of use, with over 18,000 miles (28 968.2 km) put on it. Ninety-nine percent of that time was running up and down mountains and on the highway with all its counterweight attached with a dolly.
HTC-3140 Driving up Road HTC-3140 lifting The Colorado National Monument, the Grand Mesa (world’s highest flattop mountain) and the Book Cliffs define the Grand Junction area where the HTC-3140 travels. Crane operator Brian Doxtader feels that his HTC-3140 is the only machine he has had the “gumption” to take up to the flattops starting at Garden Gulch. The sand and rock road is steep and narrow with switchbacks that cut into the sheer rock face cliffs. Going up 4,000 feet (1 219.2 m) in elevation, 10 mph (16 km/h) on a good day in summer is intensive for those eleven to twenty miles, let alone winter travel with tire chains on the rig and trail chains on the dolly.
Once at the top, Doxtader maintains natural gas compressor stations or assists with the use of snubbing units with 110.3 feet (33.6 m) of boom out. He usually sets it at a 40 foot (12.1 m) radius and 64 degree boom angle, with the snubbing unit weighing 38,900 pounds (17 644.7 kg) rigged. Many gas and oil wells, old and new are located along the flattops with one major road going to the top.
“This machine going down the highway is like driving a Cadillac. I love the way it handles. I drive it through De Beque Canyon at the speed limit weighing 170,000 pounds (77 110.7 kg) no problem. It’s also maneuverable around the hairpin turns up and down the mountains. They did something really good with this 3140. I like the 86100, but to me, this 3140 is more maneuverable and pretty well balanced.”
Having their Link-Belt cranes is part of that equation in making sure that their solid reputation stays firmly intact for the Girardi family owned business. That is: helping solve problems in the mountains of the western slope of Colorado, even if it means going hundreds of miles to make a single lift. “We will do what we say we’ll do. There are jobs that people don’t even know how to solve, and we will find a way most of the time, and make it happen.”