JJ Curran Partners with Medical Company

While many crane companies kept busy this summer, some were fortunate enough to work on jobs that positively impacted an entire community. This was the case recently for JJ Curran Crane of Detroit, Michigan, when they partnered with RAD Technology Medical Systems of Florida for an innovative project at the University of Michigan Cancer Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In 1950, John J. Curran, known as J.J., purchased his first backhoe and started the company Dearborn Excavating Company. In 1954, he bought his first crane and five years later expanded the company to six more cranes and became JJ Curran Crane. The company has been family owned and operated for over 60 years and now has second and third generation employees.

As with all cancer facilities, radiation equipment becomes outdated and needs to be replaced. Due to the cost and the size of the equipment, it is not always feasible to update the radiation equipment without negatively impacting patient care. Determined not to effect patients or staff, the University of Michigan Cancer Center hired RAD Technology Medical Systems for their groundbreaking work in the field of temporary modular vaults and clinics.

RAD Technology Medical Systems provides revolutionary modular radiotherapy vaults and cancer care clinics that can be used as temporary, interim, or permanent facilities. The modules are factory-fabricated, eliminating the need for lengthy on-site construction projects, and giving patients access to new treatment options in a matter of months instead of years. In this case, the new clinic was installed adjacent to the hospital in the parking lot this summer.

According to Kathy Lash, Director of Radiation Oncology at University of Michigan Health System, "We currently have five linear accelerators in need of eventual upgrading and are landlocked to add a sixth. When we learned about RAD's Temporary Radiotherapy Vault (TRV) we knew this type of out-of-thebox thinking would be a great example of what we refer to as the 'Michigan difference'." By leasing the vault and the clinic from RAD, the University will continue upgrading their current facilities and equipment and determine next steps at the end of the lease.

The Heavy Lifting

As one of the busiest cancer centers in the country, University of Michigan Cancer Center needed to keep patient and parking disruption to a minimum during the installation of the temporary facility, therefore the delivery of the modules and the lifts were completed on the weekend. This made it easier for traffic and pedestrian flow and allowed for the crane equipment to perform in the restricted space so close to the road and the hospital.

Safety was of the utmost priority and JJ Curran was instrumental in developing the safety plan with the traffic management team at University of Michigan. The four lanes of Medical Center Drive, in front the hospital, were reconfigured to two working lanes while the lanes closest to the hospital were closed during the project. When the actual lifts took place, all traffic was stopped for safety as the crane work included lifting modules over the street.

Phase 1

JJ Curran was contracted to install 10 prefabricated building modules, which would ultimately end up being the new temporary clinic and radiation vault. To allow for construction needs, the job was split into two phases. The first phase included placing five modules, the heaviest of which weighed 65,000 pounds. The other modules ranged from 20,000 to 40,000 pounds. JJ Curran used a Grove GM 5275 275 ton crane at a maximum radius of 50 feet. Some of the lifts during this phase were blind, relying heavily on the certified signal rigger to work by radio control with the crane operator.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the project included placing five more modules to complete the clinic. These modules ranged from 18,000 to 54,000 pounds. The JJ Curran team used a Grove GMK 6250, 300 ton crane at an 80 feet maximum radius.

Due to the other modules from Phase 1 being in place, this entire phase was a blind lift for the crane operator who again relied on radio control support from the team on the ground. Due to the unique shape and configuration of the modules, JJ Curran worked with Lifting Gear Hire's Detroit team for special rigging and turn buckles. "We decided to use turn buckles to help on the job to ensure the loads were evenly distributed," said JJ Curran Crane's Director of Operations and Sales, Brian Gentner, "These were very large modules and we couldn't take a chance that any of the weight would shift during the lift and compromise the modules." RAD's Director of Field Operations.

Mike Kosinski hired and worked closely with JJ Curran every step of the way. "It was a great experience working the JJ Curran Crane team. It took a lot of coordination and planning prior to the install and ultimately the job came in on schedule and on budget. I wish we had a JJ Curran Crane company on every job we do."

After the on-site finishing touches were complete, which included bricking in the building to match the current brick, The University of Michigan Cancer Center began treating patients in the new temporary facility early last month.

"Both RAD Technology and JJ Curran were great to work with on this project. They were very 'patient-focused' and completed work quickly and safely with no disruptions or impact to our patients or staff," said Lash.

Reprinted from Michigan Contractor & Builder, November 2013

Publish Date: 
Friday, February 28, 2014