Highway Bridge Inspection and Repairs

Case Study:

How to Shrink Inspection Time of a Three-Mile Bustling New York Highway Bridge from 2 Months to 3 Days

What was the challenge?

The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is a spectacular 3.1-mile, cable-stayed, twin-span bridge built in 2017 and opened to traffic in 2018. Its angled towers soar to about 280 feet and support 192 stay cables made of more than 4,900 miles of steel strands. In compliance with Federal Highway Administration regulations, this bridge must be inspected once every two years for cable and fixture integrity and painting maintenance. The client, a government contractor conducting bridge inspections, hired Alpha Platforms’ operated rental service to inspect this bridge, looking to save on the budget.

  • The challenge was that the daily commuter traffic hovered around 150,000 with peaks of 170,000 vehicles per day. One of four critical commuter bridges crossing the Connecticut river, this bridge supports the New York Thruway, a critical artery around New York City.
  • Previously, the bridge inspection had been completed from a motorized scaffolding basket hanging on stay cables. The inspectors had to move the cage every 20 feet and climb up and down the cables to ascertain their integrity. At the rate of one drop per day on average, such a project would have taken 1-2 months.
  • Typically, high winds would endlessly delay completion of the inspection: basket swaying is dangerous, creating unsafe working conditions for the bridge inspectors. Since the Mario Cuomo Bridge spans the Connecticut River tunnel and high riverbanks, windy days are a frequent occurrence.

What was the solution?

Alpha Platforms committed to completing the entire bridge inspection in just three days without closing the bridge.
Rush hour on the bridge spans from 6 am – 10 am and after 4 pm. Alpha Platforms dispatched its A-230, a 230-foot telescopic boom lift. The standard operated rental package includes an IPAF-certified operator and a traffic flagman for the entire duration of the project.
We deployed the truck-mounted aerial platform on site at 10 am, had the client set up three buffer trucks with sand, and a police guard. The truck footprint blocked just two lanes until 4 pm, which minimized traffic restrictions and cleared the site every night.
Alpha’s telescopic boom lifts are not sensitive to wind at up to 80% of its reach capacity, which leads to uninterrupted work on all but the most windy days.
Our operator smoothly moved the two inspectors with their tools up, down, and alongside the cables in a sturdy 12-foot basket. The Alpha operator easily maneuvered the cage between and around the cables with its 2 x 80-degree cage rotation, providing excellent line of sight on all sides of the cables and fixtures.
The specs of our state-of-the-art A-230 lift:

What was the outcome?

How could the client have reduced a 1-to-2 month-long inspection to just 3 days? Alpha Platforms’ custom-designed telescopic boom trucks are sturdy and reliable, reaching up to 300 feet high with up to a 135-foot side reach. The 230 boom lift, in this case, with its 115-foot side reach, parked on each side of the bridge only 3 times: enough to cover the entire length of its cabled portion, significantly reducing work duration and downtime.

Because of our unique height access solution, this dramatic efficiency saved the client over $200,000 just on bridge inspection.

Thanks to the swiveling jib cage and the boom’s extreme stability–even with 36-50 mph gusts --the platform operator continuously moved the basket, offering unparalleled flexibility and access speed to thoroughly inspect the cables and towers. Inspectors discovered a broken cable sleeve and requested the A-230 for one more day to fix it.

Our precise German-made lifts have become the height access method of choice for those who try them, as they combine unmatched productivity, safety, and reach.
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Notable 230 Foot Boom Lift Capabilities
  • 12-foot extra large cage
  • 1,322 lbs lifting capacity for crew, equipment, and materials
  • Side reach up to 115 feet
  • Unique "under and up" or "up and over and back" access
  • Smooth controlled motions to move close to and around glass and fragile structures
  • Jib length 31’6’’
  • Cage rotation 2 x 80°

Alpha Platforms has helped hundreds of teams like yours

Customer Testimonials
from Case Studies

Mike P.
Building restoration services family business owner

We wanted to give it a try and see what this boom truck could do. We loved the idea of a wide basket that could reach up to 30 feet and get to the brick wall over the roof. The main reason we loved the truck was how it maneuvered the boom to lower the bricks inside a dumpster, which was located behind the truck. It saved us at least one extra day of work. It all went great.

Joseph A.
Head stone mason, national cathedral

The project was performed successfully, and we were really glad to have contactless means of reaching the building, as we all know that pipe scaffold might damage the structure, in this case, very very sensitive.

Jason A.
Director of operations, family-owned regional electrical services provider

Alpha has the most efficient and leanest site setup time I’ve ever seen. My brother, who is the top climber of our group, first struggled to understand how this cage could go around the tower better than the crane - and when it did the whole 360°, he became a believer. Also, each laborer said how incredibly safe they felt - very different from the small crane basket. We were able to secure and push back the panels in place without the basket ever moving.

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