North America’s Largest Aquarium Benefits from Mini Crane

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA is North America’s largest at over 600,000 square feet. Despite its massive size, a recent remodel of the facility including a new display benefited greatly from a Maeda Mini-Crane. Limited access required general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie with headquarters in Birmingham, AL, to devise a way to remove large structural components in order to build out a new sea lion venue. “We thought a carry deck crane might be feasible, but they are really meant to work on level ground which we do not have in the work area,” explains Todd Hamby, project superintendent.

After some research, the company chose a Maeda MC 405 CRME mini-crane with 67’10” max lift height and 8400-lb maximum capacity rented from ML Cranes & Equipment, a Maeda distributor with locations in Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Most importantly, the track-mounted MC 405 has a 54-inch width and an outrigger spread that fits in a 20-foot square area.

“Initially we thought of cutting a hole in a wall for crane access but the Maeda crawled right into the freight elevator and powered itself into position,” Hamby explains. The Maeda operates on dual power to move into position with the diesel engine and can operate on electric power for the indoor work. “We are gutting an existing space which is below grade,” according to Hamby, “This includes elevated concrete slabs and structural steel that was part of the original display.” The company used the full reach of the five-section telescoping boom and moved loads up to 5400-pounds. Once completed, they walked it out of the new project with inches to spare. “It would have been a lot harder without the Maeda,” Hamby says, “The schedule is pretty aggressive on this project and we have been able to get a few days ahead with the help of the mini-crane.”

Brasfield & Gorrie are the original constructors of Georgia Aquarium in 2005. The company was recently named 2015 Contractor of the Year by the Associated Builders and Contractors.