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Steel cribs | From start to finish.

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

We recently walked you through an Armor Stone Revetment from Start to Finish; now we are going to take you step by step through the process of fabricating, setting, filling and capping a marine crib.

Phase one of a crib is establishing the size, this is often determined by the purpose in which a homeowner will use it. Will there be a jetty on it? A Boat lift? Access to the water via a set of steel steps? Whatever the case, our team works hand in hand with our customers to determine the best sized crib for their shoreline. We often install two cribs, connected by a gangway, to extend the reach Northerly into the water further (as shown in the photo above).

Once a crib size is determined, the steel is ordered to meet the specifications in the engineered prints. From there the steel is delivered to our fabrication shop in Avon Lake, Ohio where the sparks quite literally start flying.

The two longest sides of the crib are the first to be welded up, then much like raising a newly framed wall of a barn, the sides are raised vertically and braced. Then the cross beams begin to be welded in place, allowing the first glimpses of the sheer size of the crib.

After dozens more pieces are welded into place by our team of certified welders, the crib is ready to hit the road! It’s loaded by lifting it onto a flatbed truck with one of our excavators at the shop, then depending on the project it's either delivered to our load site in Avon Lake, or at the customers property. Cribs can either be placed by land or by barge depending on accessibility, but either way the moment it goes airborne is pretty spectacular.

If the crib is being delivered by barge- it’s loaded on the Anchor Day, our largest barge in the fleet. We can put two completed cribs on her at the same time. Once loaded, she sets sail for the homeowners shoreline.

Once at the spot the operator on board does one last debris check of the lake bottom, and ensures a relatively level bed for the crib to rest on. This is done by using the bucket of the excavator, it’s quite an artform to be able to use a machine to “feel” your way around under water.

When the operator is ready, the crib is chained to the excavator and slowly begins to be lifted from the barge. This is the amazing part, when the excavator swings the crib out over open water towards the front of the barge, and begins lining the massive steel structure up, perpendicular to the abutment or shore.

After the crib is placed in the water, the piles (steel beams that go down to the bedrock to ensure the crib doesn’t move) are put on a choker and lifted into place. After they are placed vertically, the excavator bucket is used to sink them down to the bedrock. There are typically at least 10 of these piles per crib. Once in place, the excess is cut off and they are welded in place.

The next step is to fill the crib with ODOT Class B stone, concrete rubble from the homeowners shoreline or a combination of both. It was common in the 70’s to dump concrete from construction projects and roadways over into the water to “build up” and extend property. 50 years later, this is causing hazards for many lakefront homeowners. After the crib is filled, its cap frame is placed and welded into place. This frame looks like a giant rebar grid, and is the foundation of the concrete pad.

\The final step is the pouring of the 12” thick concrete cap. Once this is complete the homeowner is ready to enjoy all the beauty Lake Erie has to offer

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