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News Release

Remote functions of Potain MCT 88 enable efficient Serbian bridge reconstruction


  • A Potain MCT 88 tower crane is helping contractors to rehabilitate a damaged bridge from the middle of the Danube River in Novi Sad, Serbia.
  • The crane’s remote control function is keeping the project on track as it reduces the need for operators to access the cofferdam on which the crane is erected.
  • With fewer components than other competing tower cranes, the MCT 88 is easily assembled, making it ideal for difficult job sites with limited real estate.

In Novi Sad, Serbia, a Potain MCT 88 tower crane is playing a pivotal role in a project to rehabilitate the Žeželj Bridge, which spans the Danube River and connects a key stretch of international railway.

The Žeželj Bridge, originally built in 1961, was torn down in 1999 after being damaged by wartime bombing in the former Yugoslavia. Belgrade-based Serbia Railways pledged to rebuild the bridge in 2014 as part of a larger €1.2 billion investment in Serbia’s infrastructure.

Azvi, the construction division of Seville, Spain-based Azvi Group, was tasked in August of 2016 with rebuilding the bridge. In order to access the lifts, the company needed a lifting solution that would enable operators to remotely control a crane, as it would be erected on a cofferdam in the middle of the Danube River and difficult to physically access. Azvi chose a Potain MCT 88 for the project because of its robust remote control functions and easy erection.

“For this specific job, one of the most satisfying features of this crane was its radio remote control function,” said José Ramón Contreras, deputy project manager for Azvi. “The crane’s location on the river is a little precarious, so ensuring that our contractors can make successful lifts from a remote location has given us a big boost in efficiency. The minimal components also helped us to get to work quicker than we might have with other tower cranes.”

The 5 t (5.5 USt) MCT 88—the largest in Potain’s MCT city topless series—is currently erected with 52 m (171 ft) of jib in the middle of the Danube River, on top of a customized cofferdam. River water must be continually pumped away from the cofferdam to ensure site stability. Azvi assembles metallic arches for the bridge on the riverbank and moves them by pontoon to the crane’s position in the middle of the river. The MCT 88 then lifts the arch components, which weigh nearly 5,200 t (5,732 USt) when combined, on top of the original Žeželj Bridge’s foundations. Work on the bridge is expected to continue into 2017.

The Žeželj Bridge will be one of the longest railway bridges in Europe when construction is completed. The structure is located along an international railway line that crosses the Hungarian border. The bridge will measure 474 m (1,555 ft) in length and 31.8 m (104 ft) in width, and it will feature several amenities that include two railway tracks, a two-lane road and two bicycle lanes that each measure 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in width.

Azvi rented the MCT 88 based on a recommendation from B&L UTRIP (B&L), a Prebold, Slovenia-based dealer that has offered the sales, rental and service of Potain cranes for 25 years. After taking delivery of the MCT 88 at KIGO, a subsidiary of B&L located in Novi Beograd, Serbia, Azvi was able to erect the crane on the cofferdam with direct assistance from B&L.

“The skill and experience of Sebastian David and the rest of the staff at B&L UTRIP has been evident throughout this project,” Contreras explained. “Not only did they suggest the best crane for the job, but the company’s technical department took the time to properly erect the MCT 88 in a very difficult position on the river. The attention to detail that they put in from the very beginning is paying off, as we are still working ahead of schedule.”

Azvi Group was founded more than 100 years ago and is structured around four primary business areas: construction, concessions, railroad transport and property development. The construction division of the firm, Azvi, is headquartered in Seville, Spain, and offers a number of civil engineering services such as roads, high-speed rail, hydraulic and environmental work, airports and much more.
About The Manitowoc Company, Inc.
The Manitowoc Company, Inc. (“Manitowoc”) was founded in 1902 and has over a 117-year tradition of providing high-quality products and support services that are tailored to customers’ needs. Its 2019 net sales were approximately $1.83 billion. Manitowoc is one of the world's leading providers of engineered lifting solutions. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Manitowoc designs, manufactures, markets and supports comprehensive product lines of mobile telescopic cranes, tower cranes, lattice-boom crawler cranes, boom trucks and industrial cranes under the Grove, Potain, Manitowoc, National Crane, Shuttlelift and Manitowoc Crane Care brand names.
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