The Grove cranes, which are a mix of 60 t capacity RT765E-2 units and 30 t capacity RT530E-2 units, are all owned by main contractor Afcons Infrastructure. The company bought 26 Grove RTs in 2012, which brings its total fleet of Grove cranes to more than 30 units.
The Grove cranes at the Jammu to Udhampur Highway work along the length of the 235 km stretch of road – much of which is very narrow and bordered by sheer cliff edges. These, along with the rugged terrain and fluctuating climate, are the main challenges the Grove cranes must overcome on site, as Biplob Chakraborty, deputy general manager of equipment at Afcons, explains.
"Working on a narrow and treacherous road – in either extreme heat or torrential rain – is no easy task but the Grove cranes offer excellent manoeuvrability and are quick to set up, which means we can move the project along smoothly," he explains. "This is a big job, and we need machines that can work round the clock to keep up with our demanding schedule. We are really happy with the cranes and their versatility has helped us complete a large part of the work."
As well as building many bridges, viaducts and tunnels, the Grove RT765E-2 and RT530E-2 cranes are used to widen the highway. Among their many jobs, the cranes can be found pouring concrete, lifting metal plates, and moving steel and concrete girders.
The cranes are so integral to the project that Manitowoc Crane Care appointed a service engineer to exclusively manage and maintain Afcons's Grove fleet.
The Jammu to Udhampur Highway project started in May 2011 and is expected to finish by September this year. Local residents eagerly await the road's completion as it will significantly reduce the time it takes to travel between the two cities, from ten hours to just five hours.
The four-lane project has been divided into six sub-projects which include widening the Jammu-Udhampur road (64 km), Chenani Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).
The Grove RT765E-2 features a 33.5 m long MEGAFORM boom, found on much larger Grove all-terrain cranes, and it is able to perform up to 60 t lifts. The Grove RT530E-2 offers a 29 m boom. Both cranes feature the industry-leading capabilities that Grove rough-terrain cranes are famous for, including an extremely rugged design with deep box section frames, four-steering modes and excellent pick-and-carry capabilities.
Established in 1959, Afcons Infrastructure Limited is a part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, and third largest construction group in India. Afcons is one of the top infrastructure development companies in India, having constructed over 3,000 km of road and more than 132 bridges. The company has a large range of crawler, rough- and all-terrain cranes, and is among the top hundred largest crane owning companies in the world.