High Rise Construction Views – And Taking Down A Crane

In River North, during the many years we’ve lived here, the skyline has been transformed with the addition of new high-rise buildings. Construction slowed after the 2008-9 crash, but is back now with a vengeance. A new apartment building is being built near my condominium. This is a view of the building while the construction workers were pouring concrete on the roof (you can see the concrete pouring arm) the same night of the “Derecho” storm which hit Chicago at the end of June.

I’ve always wondered how they take down the crane and we got a chance to see it up close and personal. The process took all weekend, and they closed down a nearby street on Saturday and Sunday while they dismantled the crane. They put the metal “box” (it is steel colored) with three sides around a vertical crane “segment” and then the crane pulls that segment out through the gap. You can see the crane holding the segment if you look closely – which it then lowers to the ground.

A second crane, mounted on a truck at ground level, is used to complete the job. Here the ground level crane is taking off the back of the crane that contains the counterweight. The cab and the “pointed” part of the front of the arm remains.

Now you are down to just the cab, as they pull down the remaining pieces of the front of the crane. In a few more hours, there will be no sign that the crane ever existed.

We will miss the “crane” guy. We used to watch him climb up the 30 stories or so to the top of the crane every morning, and watch him come down at the end of a long days’ work. He kept items for himself in the shed on the top of the crane, and often got out to inspect something on the top section. It must be a lonely life atop a crane, and certainly he isn’t afraid of heights.

Cross posted at LITGM

2 thoughts on “High Rise Construction Views – And Taking Down A Crane”

  1. what you are looking at on the top of the building is the articulated placement boom of a concrete pump. The concrete trucks discharge their loads into a positive displacement concrete pump on the ground. Piping carries the concrete to the placement boom which is controled by the pump operator observing the placement on the roof. Placement rates are about 30 cubic yards per hour if all goes well.
    The crane is what is called a self erecting hammmerhead tower crane. And yes, it is a very cool operation to observe both going up and coming down.

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