Published on April 24, 2020

Third tower crane, steel beams arrive for Essentia Health’s Vision Northland project

The third and final tower crane for Essentia Health’s Vision Northland construction project will be erected early next week.

The first two cranes went up in January and March. They are used to efficiently move heavy equipment and supplies around the work site. This last crane, which will be located just below Second Street and between Fourth and Fifth avenues east, will rise 355 feet above the ground.

A 550-ton crane, it will be capable of lifting more than 40,000 pounds and will feature a swing 170-foot radius.

Also next week, the first steel beams will arrive. These beams mean that the structure of the new hospital will gradually start to take shape. With much of the foundation already poured, the shell of the building will become visible for a project set to transform not only Essentia’s medical campus, but the downtown Duluth skyline, as well. Because storage space is limited on-site, beams will be delivered according to a just-in-time schedule. In other words, they’ll be transported directly from the truck bed into position.

“Beams will start arriving as fast as we can put them up,” said Phil Johnson, project manager for McGough Construction, Essentia’s construction partner.

Steel for the project comes from Minneapolis-based LeJeune Steel, which also was the primary steel fabricator for the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium. The company is one of numerous local or regional subcontractors working with McGough. More than a dozen of those subcontractors are headquartered right here in the Twin Ports. See complete list of contractors and subcontractors.

“We are excited to enter another milestone in the project with building of the final crane and the arrival of steel beams,” said Dr. Robert Erickson, Essentia’s physician lead for Vision Northland. “Many thanks to the men and women in trades working diligently to create a progressive and new health care facility to serve our patients and staff for years to come.”

Seven months after the $800 million project officially got underway, there are about 90 workers on-site each day. That number will only increase. During the life of the project, Vision Northland will create more than 5,600 on-site construction jobs and approximately 3,600 off-site construction-related jobs.

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