Toledo cranes to get fresh coat of paint

Big Lucas, the Port Authroity crane.
Big Lucas, the Port Authroity crane.

Two heavy cranes at the port of Toledo are starting to show their age and need a new coat of paint.

The cranes, nicknamed "Big Lucas" and "Little Lucas" as the result of a naming contest 51 years ago, are rusting away.

On Thursday, the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority board of directors agreed to have the two massive metal cranes on the city's waterfront repainted under an Ohio Department of Transportation painting contract estimated to cost the board about $300,000.

“They're just part of our history and they've been reliable and it's time for a facelift,” said Joe Cappel, the director of cargo development.

Mr. Cappel said the cranes will be painted in safety yellow at the bottom six feet and the rest of it will be in the Port’s brand shades of blue and gray, if the contract is approved.

Big Lucas was named by 9-year-old John Larimer of what was then Adams Township in 1962.

The port installed two new cranes for unloading ships three years ago, allowing them to scrap some older cranes that dated back to the 1940s. The newer cranes, named "Muddy" and "Spike," can't lift as much weight as Big Lucas, but are quicker, more nimble because they're on rubber tires, and use less fuel.

The board agreed to authorize Paul Toth, its president and chief executive officer, to look into consolidating the painting of the two cranes with ODOT's planned contract to paint the Craig Memorial Bridge this summer.

Board President Bill Carroll said the board will do the project only if ODOT has comparable minority subcontracting goals with the port board. The port's goal is 14 percent of a project will be contracted with minority subcontractors, Mr. Carroll said.

According to Steve Faulkner, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation, ODOT's minority contracting goals vary but the basic statewide goal is 9.1 percent.

Mr. Toth said the two cranes were last repainted in 1985-86, and it was more of a surface treatment than the down-to-the-metal repainting now being proposed. He said the next paint job should last at least 20 to 25 years.

Contact Tom Troy at: or 419-724-6058.