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The 80th Street Bridge, a part of the Highway 100 extension project in Iowa, requires the special features of a five-section boom pump to set up and pump concrete under challenging conditions

When the 80th Street bridge over U.S. Highway 30 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was demolished in November 2016, few realised the significant role a single truck-mounted boom pump would have in the concrete placement of a new, larger bridge.

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STURTEVANT, WISCONSIN (August 14, 2017) – When the 80th Street bridge over U.S. Highway 30 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was demolished in November 2016, few realized the significant role a single truck-mounted boom pump would have in the concrete placement of a new, larger bridge. However, when American Concrete Pumping, Inc. headquartered in Manchester, Iowa, dispatched their five-section Putzmeister 52Z-meter to the job site, they knew it could accommodate the long boom reach requirements and overcome the challenging job site conditions for effective setup. As a result, two critical pours could be accomplished.


Leap Frog

The first noteworthy concrete pour for the 80th Street Bridge, which is part of the $214 million Highway 100 extension project, was for the center pier. At 98 feet long, 24 feet high and four feet wide (29.87m x 7.32m x 1.22m) the pier required 352 cubic yards (269m³) of concrete to be pumped on a continual basis.

Setup and boom reach were issues that needed to be addressed. The 52Z was required to set up in the narrow median strip of a highway with cars passing by on each side, while it needed to reach the full length of the pier. "With a 147 foot (44.80m) reach from the front of the truck, the 52Z boom was perfect. The 47Z in our fleet didn't have enough boom length, and the 58 was overkill," says Jeff Stolba, the 52Z-meter's operator with 14 years experience, half of them with American Concrete Pumping in Iowa.

Stolba adds, "When setting up in a tight spot like the bridge pier, the 52Z is operator friendly. Once I swing out the outriggers, I can easily pull out the cribbing as there are no-fold down side boxes and everything is at chest height. It's really convenient."

A 15-foot (4.57m) lay-flat hose, connected to the tip boom of the 52Z, was inserted inside the pier. This allowed concrete to drop less than a foot (0.30m). Meanwhile the pump, known for its smooth output due to its closed loop free flow hydraulic system, placed concrete at a steady pace. A ten-foot (3.05m) section at a time was pumped to a four-foot (1.22m) thickness. The operator then lifted the boom and moved to the next ten-foot (3.05m) area, pumping was resumed and the process repeated in a leap frog approach, while crew members continually vibrated the concrete. Once the entire bottom layer was pumped to a four-foot (1.22m) thickness, the operator moved the boom back to the starting point and the procedure started over, resulting in six passes to finish the pier in about three hours.

American Bridge Deck

The reach and Multi-Z boom configuration of the five-section 52Z offered the only means for setup under a bridge for accessing the deck above.


High Five
The next challenge on the same bridge was an 839 cubic yard (641m³) pour for the deck. For the 430 foot long and 75 foot wide (131.06m x 22.86m) portion of deck, the pumper had the directive to maintain 100 cubic yards an hour (76m³/hr) output because of stringent DOT guidelines associated with the concrete mix design. 

With testing required of the mix every 30 cubic yards (23m³), the pumper wanted to ensure this volume was achieved for the general contractor, Peterson Contractors, Inc. of Reinbeck, Iowa. Consequently, they used three high volume boom pumps ─ a 52Z, 58 and 61m, which were also needed for their longer reaches.

The problem was reaching the center of the deck to place concrete, so access from the side of the bridge was necessary, but this meant setup below the bridge. However, only one spot was available to place a boom pump that would avoid shutting down the highway to traffic. And the boom pump would need to partially set up under the actual bridge. The 52Z was the answer.

With one-third of the boom pump parked directly under the bridge, the outriggers were deployed and the boom stack was carefully lifted about six feet while under the bridge. It was then swung 90° off the driver's side, raised and the individual booms were then extended up and over the deck to access the pour.

"There was just no other way to set up and make this project work if it wasn't for the reach and five-section boom of the 52Z," says Dylan Schindler, the pumper’s director of operations/sales. "It was the only boom pump that had enough reach and could still set up in this spot. That's because its compact boom stack could be raised under the bridge."  

Of course, there was no question that the setup would work since the pumper had performed a trial run at the site to make absolutely sure the 52Z could set up and unfold before the actual day of the pour.

The trio of boom pumps worked in pairs at times, solo at other times. The bridge was pumped in six-and-a-half hours without any technical issues.


Better with Age

The 52Z-Meter, relied upon for two critical pours, is a 2002 model that was fully refurbished in 2007 by the Putzmeister Pro-Tech Certified Pre-Owned Equipment Center in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. The 52Z was restored to factory standards and backed by a warranty from the manufacturer. The full refurb included new wear parts, structural and truck evaluation and repairs, prep and paint, and a 119 point DOT used truck inspection.

"No one can believe the unit's age," says Stolba who, like all operators at American, additionally follows a rigorous routine of keeping the units clean and maintained. "Plus, it pumps beautifully, just like a brand new one. You can't steal this pump from me."


A fully refurbished 52Z in American Concrete Pumping's fleet proudly honors the military by showcasing the symbolic image of the kneeling soldier at a cross along with the American flag.


American Means American

Since 1997, the pumper has been serving customers with American pride from their Iowa locations in Manchester, Marion, Iowa City and Farley, but their roots in concrete construction didn't start with pumping. In 1978, Ray and Jane Philippson started Philippson Concrete Construction, Inc. to serve the residential and agricultural industries, especially the hog raising market. In the mid 1990s, it became difficult to get a pump to service their own work so they bought a used truck-mounted boom pump. Fast forward to 1997 when they formed a separate minority-owned concrete pumping business and Jane became the owner. Today, their fleet has grown from two boom pumps to 12 along with five Telebelts®, and all operators are ACPA certified.

The company takes great pride in America, evident by the business name chosen. Every unit proudly displays the American flag; and to honor the military, the three biggest machines in their fleet showcase the symbolic image of the kneeling soldier by a cross.

Commenting on the respect and pride of the country's service members, Jane Philippson says, "We were born and raised with great patriotism and love of country that is just a way of life here in the Midwest, plus we have veterans who work for us." This includes a mechanic and two operators who were Marines.

The company's employees share this attitude of patriotism and camaraderie. Philippson notes, "With the market downturn in 2008, we had to make sacrifices and our employees remained loyal to us in getting through this difficult time."


On Schedule

The 80th Street Bridge is one of six bridges and two large box culverts in the project's second phase. Expected to transform the rural landscape of farmland, woodland and prairie, the full eight mile (13km) beltway connecting Highway 100 from Edgewood Road west and south to Highway 30 remains on track for completion in 2020.


About Putzmeister America, Inc.

Specialising in concrete and material placing equipment for the construction industry, Putzmeister America, Inc. is the North American division of one of the world’s most recognised and respected heavy equipment manufacturers, Putzmeister Concrete Pumps GmbH. Putzmeister America, Inc. manufactures a complete line of truck-mounted concrete boom pumps, separate placing booms, truck-mounted telescopic belt conveyors, concrete transit mixers and trailer-mounted concrete pumps, as well as mortar, grout, shotcrete, plaster and fireproofing pumps and mixers, industrial pumps, tunnelling machinery and pipeline systems. Some of the industry’s best known brands, such as Telebelt®, Thom-Katt®, and Tommy Gun®, are part of the Putzmeister America family. The company’s workforce is dedicated to hands-on customer support and advancing the industry in design and technical innovation. 

A Putzmeister 52Z-meter had to set up in the median strip of a highway and leap frog from one section of the bridge pier to the next and then start over, as it continuously pumped 352 cubic yards (269m³) of concrete.

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