Belltown Crane Assembly

First time observation of a full crane assembly


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The Experience

I see lots of new building construction in downtown Seattle and nearly every site has a large crane that supports the construction effort. On Saturday I awoke to a view of a construction crane undergoing full assembly. The photos below are what I saw.

We walked to the base of the construction site to watch the crane being assembled. This is a view into the foundation pit. Note the base of the crane mast on the upper left.

Note the solid concrete foundation. Here, the up-top team ascends to take positions on the upper mast.

End view of the boom assembly.

Linkage assembly that reinforces the boom.

Note the size of the pins near Kathleen's knees. I am guessing that they are 6" in diameter.

Taking a strain on the counterbalance assembly.

Ropes are used to steady the load as it is being lifted. Note that the crane's operator cab tilts.

Counterbalance assembly being attached to the main mast. Note the workers on either side waiting for the assembly to be sufficiently well aligned to insert a "starter" pin.

Belltown has been building like crazy.

The cab also has a glass roof to allow the operator to have a clear view of the work.


After the counterbalance assembly was attached, the lifting power pack is hoisted.

Counterbalance weights. Note that their weight is written on the plates.

Counterbalance assembly is attached and power pack is installed.

Main boom lift is starting. The near end will be attached to the mast.

Connection achieved, attempting to get both tie points attached.

Note the assembler on top of the operator cab. The other one is on the far side of the cab. These guys are extremely exposed. True, they do have a safety line attached, but it is a long, long way down.

Connection complete, now the reinforcing links must be attached.

Counterbalance weights for the main crane.

Over the road cab. Note that the whole crane weighs 105,000 pounds.

Lifting the reinforcing link assembly into place.

Reinforcing link assembly nearly connected.

Attaching the carrier assembly to the end of the boom.

Sliding the carrier assembly to a safe area.

Attaching the last boom assembly and allowing the main boom to take a strain. Assembly is essentially complete.

This was an interesting event to observe. I always wondered how these cranes were assembled. This team has clearly done this before, the entire assembly (except the base foundation) was completed in only one day.

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