The largest crane downtown Tyler has seen in decades is hard at work this weekend restoring the roofs of the historic Peoples Petroleum Building.
The 500-ton crane arrived during the wee hours of the morning Friday and crews will work 24 hours a day until the job is done Sunday morning.
The crane came from TNT Crane & Rigging Co., of Longview, in pieces on several semi-trucks. It was put back together in the “wee hours of the morning,” so it was ready to go Friday, Garrett said. He said he expected the crane to leave Sunday morning.
Garrett said they are using the crane to take down and to replace roofing materials and HVAC equipment. But the main purpose of the crane is to lift a 14-by-20-foot steel water tank that weighs 14,000 to 15,000 pounds. On Friday afternoon, the crews began cutting up and hauling off the existing tank before taking the new tank’s frame up, followed by the massive tank Friday night.
Rusty Ford, project manager for Merit Roofing System, of Richardson, said the crane began work at about 9:30 a.m. Friday. The crews started removing roofing and loose rock from the 15th-floor roof, and the crane was bringing it all down to an oversized dumpster parked on Erwin Street. At the same time, the crane was uploading material for a new roof, Ford said. Throughout the weekend, the crews also will demolish and replace the 11th- and third-story roofs.
Ford said Merit has six men on the job while the TNT Crane & Rigging Co. had five crewmen, including two on the roof, two on the ground and one in the crane.
He said he has never been involved in a project that used a 500-ton crane.
Last year, Tim Brookshire, his son Garnett Brookshire and Andy Bergfeld created a new partnership — The Peoples Petroleum Building LLC. The name comes from its former purpose as Peoples National Bank and deep oil and gas industry history. Through the partnership, the men plan to restore the building and rent it out for offices and business.
“We’re very careful not to change things from the way they were before,” he said.
The project is being done in phases and could take three years, Garrett said.
“I’m just proud Tim and Garnett Brookshire have stepped up and are willing and able to preserve part of downtown,” Garrett said. “And I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Ford said a lot of cooperation went into the roofing project, with the Genecov Group letting them use its parking lot for the crane to operate from. “Between Garrett and the Brookshires, this is smooth,” Ford said while watching over the crane work Friday morning. He said the crane would be gone by the end of the weekend and on Monday, people would have their parking lot back.
“The thing is, you just can’t get in a hurry because of safety,” he said.