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Old April 27th, 2006, 03:03 AM   #481
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Nice find Adam!
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Old April 27th, 2006, 03:30 AM   #482
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Find? I made it! Thanks though.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 03:32 AM   #483
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Nice work, Adam186.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 05:33 AM   #484
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam186
Find? I made it! Thanks though.
LOL

Cool.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 02:25 AM   #485
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/busine...l=chi-news-hed

The high life
On the job (and up the ladder?) with the man in the cloud-view cab

By Emily Nunn

Tribune staff reporter
Published April 28, 2006

Mike Freeman's office is a snap to find, but the commute is a nightmare.

He's a tower crane operator on the Trump Tower site, one of the highest-profile construction projects in the country right now. Each weekday at around 7 a.m. he starts his day with a circus-act climb, 210 feet up a spindly metal ladder that zigzags through an open steel tower and into the control cab of his hulking Liebherr 420, which spins like a weather vane, can lift 35,000 pounds, and will eventually sit atop the quarter-mile-high building. So it's no surprise he doesn't get many visitors.

"People make it up one section and say, 'Nah -- that's enough,' and climb back down," said Freeman, who had come back down himself and was sitting in a Dunkin' Donuts across the street from the site, dressed in the typical uniform of heavy dungarees and several shirts (T, waffle, chamois), hard hat in hand.

Still, he's pretty popular. "When people see you climb down out of the crane, they'll wait for you on the street," he said. "You wouldn't believe some of the questions."

Like how do you get your lunch? I offered.

"Noooooo," he said, laughing. The No. 1 question concerns a more private necessity. (Suffice it to say: There's no indoor plumbing in a tower crane. Also: Yes, he can see people through the windows of the IBM building, and, yes, they sometimes wave hello; no, he has never fallen off of his crane; yes, he has seen people sunbathing on roofs; no, of course he's not afraid of heights; no, he doesn't get lonely up there because he shares the cab with his "oiler," Jon Payne, who maintains the machine; and regarding lunch: He usually brings it up with him in the morning, and eats in the cab. Most of the time he doesn't come down all day long.)

But people also ask, simply, "What's it like up there?" and Freeman's answer makes it sound rather dreamy, actually.

"There have been occasions when I've stayed to watch the sunset," he said. He keeps a camera around to capture the scenery, which changes considerably as the building climbs farther into the sky. His very favorite view, though, is the one of the clouds -- seen from above.

Which gives you a good idea of just how high he gets on his job, and why a lot of people, including other construction workers, ask to visit.

"You'll know whether you're going up or not when you get near it," he said, when I invited myself up.

Maybe. Maybe not. But it was sure true for Freeman, who has been operating tower cranes for more than 20 years, and fell in love with the job right away.

Growing up in Chicago, he had uncles in the business. "As a kid I could go to construction sites and watch [them] operating the cranes," he said. "Once I got into construction, I thought it was the best thing you could do." During field school with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, which is required for certification, along with several years of apprenticeship, "I'd head to [the crane] every chance I could."

All of which -- along with his beatific demeanor and preternaturally youthful appearance for his age (48) -- made me wonder if cranes, like the circus, might simply have to be in your blood. What else could explain his daily derring-do, I wondered, as Freeman talked about the only career he has ever wanted.

Either way, his job rocks -- literally. "A heavy weight will pull you way down, and when you release the weight, it swings back up," Freeman said, referring to whatever gargantuan item he might be "picking" on a given day -- forms, rebar, giant buckets of concrete. "When you swing, the tower twists a little ... it's, um ... well, you get used to it."

Not for everyone

Some people don't, actually.

"I've had partners who have gotten seasick up there," he said. "I've had guys leave, who just couldn't do it. Who just said, `I can't stay up here.'"

It's just as well because sooner or later, there's going to be the problem of repairs.

"Sometimes we have to walk our booms," he said, referring to the long triangulated steel arms (otherwise known as jibs) you see hovering in the construction-heavy Loop skyline, like so many jumbo gangplanks.

"If the trolley motor is out, or needs replacing, yeah, you have to go out there. ... You wear your harness and tie it off. There's a loop, and you use a 6-to-8-foot lanyard that hooks to you to a cable on the crane boom."

So, a tower crane operator who falls and is hanging from a boom by a lanyard would be rescued by another worker wearing a harness connected to the boom by a lanyard?. "Yes. They would do anything they could to rescue you," he said. "They might use helicopters."

He shrugged and said, "In the old days we didn't wear harnesses at all."

The more he told me, the more frightened I got, which made me want to ask more questions to put off the climb. It was a vicious cycle, but I learned a lot.

For instance, I finally found out how tower cranes get onto the rooftops of skyscrapers.

They jump up there.

Bottom climber

There are many types of tower cranes, and the size, model and their positions on the site are all strategically selected long before the job begins. Freeman's crane, which is stout and strong ("because we're going to be climbing high, in the high wind"), is known as a bottom climber, and it is essentially on the inside of the very building it is helping to construct. It seems to be getting shorter, because the growing building obscures the tower, but soon a hydraulic pump located at the base will jack the entire crane up and place it onto a new base eight floors up. It will "jump" about 14 times in all, until the crane sits atop the Trump Tower's 92nd floor -- about twice as high as the IBM Building.

"Of course, the higher the building goes the more you're working blind," Freeman said. But he's always quick to point out that he's not alone up there. In addition to his oiler, there's constant communication from signalmen on speaker boxes throughout the site. "They tell us `come down slow,' or `trolley in a little bit,' or `swing one, swing two.' One means to the operator's right, two is to the operator's left."

And he has computers, which, like safety harnesses, are a modern convenience he did without in his first decade on the job. "So say I'm pouring concrete, and there's a truck out there, and I can't see it. When I set the bucket the first time, I can look at my computer and note the radius is at 51 feet. The next time I drop I know to set the bucket at 51 feet. That helps. We used to paint marks on the jib -- just walk out there and paint a little mark," he said.

During the workday, neither wind nor rain nor lightning (nor the raccoon that set up housekeeping in his cab once) causes him undue stress personally.

"We're pretty safe in the tower cranes," he said. "We're grounded. But if someone [on the ground] had the hook in their hand and lightning hit the crane, they're in trouble."

And although they'll shut a tower crane down, per the manufacturer's recommendation, when the wind reaches a certain speed (for his crane, it's 45 m.p.h.), it can get dicey before that ever happens. "I put a skylight on top of a building once, all glass, 40 foot square, in a pyramid shape. The wind was blowing, and it was spinning as I was moving it down to some guys. ... Some of them just want you to hurry and get it down so they can grab it. But if it's spinning it can crush them. And they're like: `Come on.' Well, I'm not ready to bring it to you. I'm going to get control of it before I bring it to you."

In fact, the only thing you'll hear him say that truly scares him is the idea of putting another person in danger. "I worry about that more than anything -- who's below. I don't want to hurt anybody," he said.

Finally, it was time. "Should we go down?" Freeman asked, meaning beneath Wabash and into the site's nerve center, to pick up a hard hat and sign a release absolving Donald Trump of all blame should someone drop a load of iron on my skull.

In his element

The minute we emerged upstairs into the sun, Freeman -- who loves being outdoors, and never visits the interiors of buildings once they're finished -- seemed to be back in his element. He pointed out ironworkers and carpenters on their way to lunch.

"Hello, Joe," he said to one.

"Mike!" said another.

"Jim," he responded, but we kept moving toward the crane, which did seem a little daunting the closer we got.

I caught a close-up glimpse of one of the gargantuan 3 1/2-yard buckets that Freeman will use to carry roughly 14,000 pounds of concrete each and the famous Putzmeister concrete pump essential to building what will be the world's tallest concrete reinforced structure. I saw tubes of column iron that looked like tomato cages for the Jolly Green Giant's garden. I saw a box of silverhead screws the size of my arm. I saw the interior of what will be the first floor, which was several stories high and held up by pole-shore structures that looked as delicate as a honeycomb. It all made me feel very small.

What I didn't ever see was the view from the cab of Freeman's crane.

When I got to the base (which is next to the river) and looked straight up the thin metal ladder, I felt like Jack at the bottom of the beanstalk: There was no end in sight. Freeman said it would take about 15 minutes, but after only a few steps, I knew that if I managed to get halfway up, I'd get stuck, and they'd have to get the helicopter out. I probably shouldn't have tried to bring my purse.

As I walked off the site in shame, Freeman said, "You didn't do so bad."

"I made it up four rungs," I said.

"No, I think you did five!" he said. Clearly, he worried about other people's feelings as much as he did their safety. And it was obvious he'd been through this before.

I stood on the sidewalk across the street and watched him climb back up the ladder, much faster than in 15 minutes, like a man who couldn't wait to get back to work.



Picture movie on top of the crane:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/s...l=chi-news-hed
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Old April 29th, 2006, 02:51 AM   #486
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STR, you did an amazing job creating those images. You are truely good at what you do. This tower is quite simply put: A masterpiece.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:25 AM   #487
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Wow, looking really nice so far! Thanks for all the updates guys!
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 01:33 AM   #488
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anybody have any recent pics on this?
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 11:50 PM   #489
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Two different perspectives of Trump from the air by KCgridlock's amazing thread!

[IMG]http://photos.***************/kcgridlock/chicago/IMG_1536_sized.jpg[/IMG]
^Two yellow cranes
[IMG]http://photos.***************/kcgridlock/chicago/IMG_1583_sized.jpg[/IMG]
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Old May 4th, 2006, 12:09 AM   #490
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hey thanks, do you know when these photos were taken?
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Old May 4th, 2006, 06:32 PM   #491
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I got the opportunity to visit the Trump Tower construction site yesterday. It was a spur of the moment thing and I certainly didn't expect to get as far as I did.

Here is a bit of a timetable for those interested. There are 5 phases.

Phase 1 Floor: 15M Poured: 09/27/06 Occupied: 08/10/07
Phase 2 Floor: 28M Poured: 03/06/07 Occupied: 04/01/08
Phase 3 Floor: 50M Poured: 09/20/07 Occupied: 12/10/08
Phase 4 Floor: 72 Poured: 02/07/08 Occupied: 12/10/08
Phase 5 Floor: 90M Poured: 04/25/08 Occupied: 12/28/09

Also, here are some interior rendering that I were able to snap images of.

Condo elevator lobby.




Ballroom.


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Old May 4th, 2006, 09:07 PM   #492
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Good Update!
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Old May 5th, 2006, 12:35 AM   #493
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Here are some construction shots from yesterday May 3, 2006.

Staircase within the parking structure under Wabash Avenue - 2006-5-3


View up the southwest columns - 2006-5-3


concrete pump tubing - 2006-5-3


The helix parking structure - 2006-5-3


Stairway made of scaffolding - 2006-5-3


View to the northwest - 2006-5-3


Concrete pump (Putzmeister Model BSA 14000HP-D) - 2006-5-3


Interior of parking structure under Wabash Avenue - 2006-5-3


View down a corridor that separates the tower from the parking structure under Wabash Avenue - 2006-5-3


View through the bracing of one of the tower's lower levels - 2006-5-3


View to the west from Wabash Avenue - 2006-5-3


Hope you all emjoy the update
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Old May 5th, 2006, 12:43 AM   #494
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Yes, Thanks a lot for these inside pictures. Can't wait for this one to come up. So keep up the good work so we can follow construction on a regular basis.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 01:14 AM   #495
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WOW! great update! thanks
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Old May 5th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #496
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyguy
Two different perspectives of Trump from the air by KCgridlock's amazing thread!

[IMG]http://photos.***************/kcgridlock/chicago/IMG_1536_sized.jpg[/IMG]
^Two yellow cranes
[IMG]http://photos.***************/kcgridlock/chicago/IMG_1583_sized.jpg[/IMG]

That is some canyon views of Chicago!
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Old May 5th, 2006, 10:43 AM   #497
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should start to grow at a constant pace now
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Old May 5th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #498
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_sbs
should start to grow at a constant pace now
Exactly. The slower stages are over. Now it's time for this baby to rise, rise.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #499
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THAT'S an update!
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Old May 5th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #500
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Cool, has rising by a floor since I was there last
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