The Italian engineering firm, Petrucco, recently introduced their hydraulic box-jacking method for the first time in the United States. This innovative technique allowed them to maneuver a concrete underpass beneath the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in a single weekend, an impressive achievement that illustrates the importance of international collaboration for the proliferation of the construction industry.
In this brief article, a Jacksonville construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law will provide an overview of the project, describe how hydraulic box-jacking works, and explain three important benefits of hydraulic box-jacking. Remember, for all of your construction-related legal needs, including services such as contract review, assembling or protesting a bid, lien law, bond law, alternative dispute resolution, and more, a Jacksonville construction attorney is standing by.
Summary: the Long Island Rail Road Project
The LIRR weighed its options before selecting Petrucco to move multiple rail crossings below grade. They expected weeks of interrupted service, but to their surprise, Petrucco’s solution didn’t require such lengthy shutdowns. Each underpass could be completed in a single weekend, which greatly reduced disruptions to railway traffic. The key to their success? The box-jacking method.
Hydraulic Box-Jacking: How it Works
According to the Engineering News-Record, Petrucco’s system utilizes hydraulic jacks and spreaders to “move a cast-in-place concrete box carrying the entire underpass and rail bridge into place in a matter of hours.” In mere hours, the underpass could be completely installed. And despite this being the first instance of this technique on U.S. soil, union crews performed all of the work, quickly building proficiency as each underpass was completed. Interestingly, this technique is so effective that some construction professionals involved in the project found it “almost boring.” One executive director of the mainline expansion project even remarked: “It’s an amazing process. How have we not been doing this in the States for years?”
Why It Matters: Speed, Efficiency, Safety
This project highlights the value of Petrucco’s hydraulic box-jacking method, which increases the speed of project completion, boosts efficiency, and supports worker safety and health. Here’s how:
- Speed: each portion of the LIRR project was expected to take weeks with traditional methods. Instead, each section was completed over the weekend.
- Efficiency: faster project completion meant less disruptions for the public, optimized work schedules, and improved outcomes.
- Safety: one of the problems inherent to longer projects are more opportunities for injury. With Petrucco’s method, workers spend less time on the project site and less time in harm’s way.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.