OCEAN CITY — After several breakdowns over the last two summers, Ocean City officials this week agreed to replace a decade-plus-old stationary crane at the solid waste transfer station nearing the end of its useful life.
In November 2004, the Town of Ocean City purchased the stationary crane, the workhorse of the resort’s solid waste removal program and constructed a foundation and infrastructure to support it. In the decades since, the crane has been largely responsible for lifting the tons of solid waste collected by the resort each day and loading it into tractor trailers for transportation to the resort’s solid waste disposal partners.
However, the 11-year-old crane failed at different times during this past summer and the summer of 2014, and despite efforts by the Public Works Department to eek a little more life out of the centerpiece of the town’s solid waste program, the crane now needs to be replaced at the tune of around $200,000, Public Works Director Hal Adkins told the Mayor and Council on Monday.
“We purchased the crane in 2004 and a concrete pedestal was built specifically for that machine,” he said. “Going on 11 years later, the crane is reaching the end of its useful purpose. This is the only crane we have that does this job and it is used daily. When it breaks down, we have to load the trucks manually. It’s used 50 hours a week all year-round and we use the heck out of it.”
Adkins explained the crane was his department’s top replacement priority. He told the Mayor and Council if they approved the replacement on Monday, it would still be a push to get it up and running before the next summer season rolls around.
“It will take 14-16 weeks for delivery along with another week for construction of the new infrastructure to support it,” he said. “I could have to get through another summer season without it and I’m not real happy about that prospect.”
Adkins explained the crane itself would cost around $183,000 along with another $16,000-plus to remove the old one, bringing the total to around $200,000. However, the purchase price is justified considering the crane’s importance to the resort’s solid waste removal.
“The crane went down three times during the summer when we were cranking on all cylinders,” he said. “That’s 14 to 15 trucks coming and going all day. It never stops.”
After considerable debate, the Mayor and Council voted to include the crane purchase in the upcoming “large purchase” financing. With the green light, Adkins said he could probably have it in place by mid- to late March.
“We probably got good life out of this and we don’t want that old one sitting in there causing problems,” said Mayor and Acting City Manager Rick Meehan.