The 300 foot long barge carries a crane nearly 200 feet high. This crane can lift 1,000,000 pounds and lift gates at locks along the Mississippi River.

DAVENPORT, Iowa – A large crane ship has been docked along the Mississippi in Davenport in the past few days.

This heavy-duty crane plays a major role for the US Army Corps of Engineers in the Rock Island District along the Mississippi.

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Mike McKean gave us a tour of the 300 foot long barge that carries the nearly 200 foot tall crane.

“The main purpose of this crane, this heavy-duty crane, is to work on the locks and dams up and down the Mississippi,” McKean said.

These locks and dams help more than 60,000 commercial ships cross the Quad Cities region each year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This crane only works with other tools on board.

“We can go out to the river and spit down, so to speak, again they’re a bit like stiff leg anchors that hold us in place,” said Tony, one of the engineers on the barge.

Tony said the boat is powered by two generators. The barge can also take in water in a targeted manner if necessary.

“I can use it to counterbalance the crane or use it to submerge the barge in three feet to get us under high water,” Tony said.

This is important because this new crane ship can now operate during floods where the previous Quad Cities crane ship, which had been in service for more than three decades, was unable to sail, according to Keith Senkbeil, the ship’s maintenance officer.

“We can be folded down and be up and running in about 30 minutes,” said Senkbeil.

Senkbeil is overseeing the new ship, saying the new crane has even more advantages over its predecessor.

“This one is much stronger, it has a wider range and this will change the way we have done things in the past,” said Senkbeil.

The barge is pushed by the motor ship “Quincy”, which, according to Jared, the chief engineer on board, is designed for 3,000 hp. The ship can travel at about seven or eight miles an hour, depending on where the boat is going, Jared said.

All of these new improvements are helping this floating crane achieve its next big project.

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