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The Ellis Alliance

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(l-r) Liberty owners Douglas J. and Darren Muttart

Another look at the 2011 Statue of Liberty Life and Safety Upgrades

Hurricane Sandy devastated the northeastern coast of the U.S. in October 2012. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported the hurricane cost the country US$65 billion in damages; the damage was so extensive that the New York Stock Exchange closed for two consecutive business days, which hasn’t happened since 1888. The New York tristate area suffered most of the damage, largely by the storm surge, which partially engulfed both Liberty and Ellis Island. The chaotic wind and water crippled the national-park sites, leaving the Statue of Liberty’s and Ellis Island’s elevators out of commission. In 2011, The Statue’s elevators were replaced by Liberty Elevator Corp. as part of the National Park Service’s (NPS) Life and Safety Upgrades (ELEVATOR WORLD, January 2014). This included the removal of the existing double-deck hydraulic passenger elevator, replacing it with a new machine-room-less (MRL) passenger elevator; the installation of a new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant handicapped lift; and the installation of a technologically advanced emergency rack-and-pinion elevator. While the statue was reopened to visitors, Ellis Island remained closed for the duration of the work.

The existing two hydraulic and two traction elevators at Ellis Island were severely damaged, with only one able to be repaired and returned to service. The storm obliterated the electrical components, leaving them inoperable. Upon being awarded the restoration contract, General Contractor Perini Management Services, Inc., selected Liberty Elevator Corp. to install four new MRL elevators within the existing hydraulic shafts. Liberty installed the original elevators in the statue in 1986 and three more as part of past Life and Safety Upgrades.

To comply with specifications for the new elevators, Liberty needed to accommodate the existing low-overhead conditions in two of the four hoistways. Its owners, Douglas J. and Darren Muttart, looked no further than Alliance Elevator Solutions of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, to assist with consulting, engineering and manufacturing of the four highly customized gearless MRL elevators. Decades ago, two of the four hoistways were originally designed to accommodate low-overhead hydraulic elevators. Although the newly specified gearless MRL equipment was appropriate for the condition (the majority of the equipment would be housed in the overhead, far from flood waters) MRL elevators traditionally require more overhead and wider hoistways to accommodate the permanent-magnet motor machines.

Liberty and Alliance worked closely with the NPS and Perini Management Services, Inc. to develop a custom nonproprietary MRL group designed specifically to accommodate the existing 13-ft., 2-in. overhead. After several afterhours brainstorming sessions, both onsite and in the office, the companies developed an arrangement that adhered to the specifications and fit within the existing hoistways.

Muttart stated:

“Liberty is proud to once again partner with the NPS and provide vertical transportation to the park’s visitors. Liberty is no stranger to challenging installations and is honored to have worked with Alliance Elevator Solutions to devise an elevator system that will allow guests to visit Ellis Island for years to come.”

Travis Hall, general manager of Alliance, added:

“Our team was absolutely honored to work with Liberty on this iconic project and become a part of this landmark’s rich history. Since our inception in 2011, Alliance’s mission has been to provide a nonproprietary elevator package that combines simplicity and advanced engineering concepts to deliver a trouble-free installation package. Though we offer proven hydraulic packages, we have recently harnessed the ingenuity of Torin Drive and are proud to now offer a complete gearless MRL solution.”

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