Constructions company explains why cranes during windy days are perfectly safe
PHOENIX - A timelapse taken from the Phoenix city camera shows how Wednesday's wind gusts were moving cranes back and forth in the downtown area due to all the construction.
But the good news is that this is actually what they are designed to do.
Layton Construction has some cranes near Central Avenue and Van Buren Street. Crews secured anything that the wind might pick up or move, but how do they make sure their cranes are safe in the wind?
Well, a silver device spinning on top of one of their cranes is called an "anemometer," a speedometer for the wind. There are more than half a dozen cranes working on building projects in downtown Phoenix right now.
Andrew Geier of Layton Construction says the anemometer is closely monitored by the crane operator – it's like a speedometer on a dashboard.
"The maximum wind speed is 45 miles an hour. We shut it down and generally the industry shuts it down at 35 miles an hour," he explained.
With winds gusting above 50 mph Wednesday, mother nature likely shut down every crane across the Valley and the state.
Even though not operating, cranes are still towering above the city during a powerful wind storm.
Lew Izzo walks around downtown often and admits he gets a little nervous about the cranes.
"I came outside and was nearly blown back into the hotel. I heard it was going to be very windy," Izzo said. "I tend to not walk here as long as I can with things above my head, but I'm confident they know what they're doing."
Geier assures the public that they do know what they're doing. In high winds, he says they place the cranes into what's called "weathervaning mode," which allows them to swing freely.
"So instead of having the crane against the wind, it goes with it and that creates the least amount of drag and that how cranes can handle windy days when not operational," he explained.
It's all under control, says Geier, whose company is responsible for several tons of equipment high above the city come rain shine or high wind.
"Those tower cranes, what people don't realize, is they have a huge footing that they're tied down, too, so you sleep well on windy nights and windy days.
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