A boom journeys from Manhattan to northwest, B.C.

The huge piece of equipment is being provided to Bantrel through United Rentals in Terrace, B.C.

Bantrel’s Tony Langille and Josh Mechtel from United Rentals are high up on a massive boom lift which can stretch 185 feet into the air. It’s being rented to Bantrel by United Rentals for use at the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter modernization project at Kitimat.

Neck craned upward to follow the movement of the massive boom lift far above, Kory McKay provided a running commentary.

“We brought in some of 135 feet last year, then 150 and now this one,” said the United Rentals area manager while watching as each of the five sections of the boom lift telescoped out in turn up toward the maximum height of 185 feet, the equivalent of nearly 19 storeys.

“There’s only seven in the world and this one is the only one in Canada,” he said while keeping an eye on the lift’s extension capabilities far above.

McKay and a group of United Rentals employees at the company’s Terrace staging yard were gathered outside to watch the boom lift being put through its paces.

Manufactured by the JLG Corporation of Pennsylvania the 1850SJ boom series is barely a year old and the one McKay and the others were watching arrived in Terrace the end of January from its previous location on the island of Manhattan.

From a first enquiring phone call from a customer to arrival at the United Rentals yard on Keith Ave. in Terrace where its welds were inspected by an engineering firm before being readied for its customer, the process took four months.

“It came up from the States through Quebec,” said McKay of the boom’s journey via a flatbed truck across the country to Terrace.

“It was last at the Twin Towers,” added McKay of the site where the World Trade Centre buildings were located prior to 9/11.

The northwest customer in this case is Bantrel, a construction and engineering company partially owned by Bechtel and working at Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat smelter modernization project where Bechtel is the prime contractor.

On the day of the demonstration, Bantrel’s Tony Langille and Josh Mechtel from United Rentals were high up in the operator’s platform measuring eight feet by three feet, testing out the self-propelled lift’s various functions.

“This is going to give us reach,” said Langille after returning to earth of the boom lift’s operation once onsite at the smelter modernization project.

“What this can do is go up and then out, over other work,” he said.

In addition to the platform height, fully extended at 185 feet, a two-section jib can extend up to 20 feet for more reach capability.

JLG’s specs for the boom state that because of its height and reach, it can provide a work area of more than 2.9 million cubic feet.

When not in use, the boom is compact enough to be transported on a large flatbed trailer.

In this case, the transportation of the boom from Terrace to the smelter construction site at Kitimat was handled by Spring Creek Aggregates, a division of the Bear Creek Group.

“I can’t say enough about them,” said McKay. “We made a call and they were here.”

United Rentals, which has more than 880 outlets through the United States and Canada and which bills itself as the world’s largest equipment rental provider, set up shop in the former DHL location on Keith Ave. in Terrace just over a year and a half ago in response to the needs of a number of large-scale regional development projects.

It’s provided lifts, for example, to the Red Chris copper mine project owned by Imperial Metals.

McKay says the Terrace United Rentals employee complement now stands at approximately 30 people.