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New cargo crane clears bridges, arrives at Port of Oakland

A new crane arrived to the Port of Oakland Thursday morning, ready for assembly at the Ben E. Nutter Terminal.

Thanks to the morning’s low tide and the San Francisco Bar Pilots’ guidance, the ship was able to clear both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge successfully before arriving at the Port around 7 a.m.

Because the crane is 300 feet high in its stowage position, it was partially disassembled before arriving to the San Francisco Bay. Capt. Anne McIntyre, business director for the San Francisco Bar Pilots, said maneuvering this ship was especially unique for the pilots, not only because of the crane’s height, but the width, which extended to a 433-foot span. The crew had to strategically time the arrival for safe weather conditions and low water levels.

Ray Saint Germain/Bay City News The Zhen Hua transports a new ship-to-shore crane (STS) to the Ben E. Nutter terminal at the Port of Oakland in Calif., on Thursday, June 24, 2021. On the final leg of the trip from China, the ship passed under the Golden Gate and San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridges with only feet of clearance. When assembled the crane will have a lift height from the dock of 170 feet.

McIntyre said:

“Obviously they wouldn’t bring something like that in in the fog. We have to bring it in where the water level of the tide is low enough that it will clear under the Golden Gate Bridge and then also clear under the Bay Bridge, so there’s a lot of coordination in the exact timing of it moving along.”

The California Highway Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard also stepped in to ensure a safe arrival. Traffic on the Bay Bridge was temporarily stopped as the giant crane made its way under.

The crane will take about two months to be reassembled and brought to service.

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