Thursday, 19 June 2008

Nest of cranes in Sandton - but how, civil engineers, do they get up there?

On the way up Grayston Drive to Benmore today, I counted no less than ELEVEN gigantic yellow and orange cranes on various construction sites, all within a few blocks of one another. In fact, the area around Grayston and the Morningside Clinic looks like a nightmarish 3D game of Tetris, with big blocky office buildings popping up everywhere you look. Now, call me a poephol, but I have a real problem with cranes. In fact, I have several problems with them. One, I can't look at the crane operator trapped in his little glass bubble without feeling sick. Two, I can't drive under a crane (or at least the back end of one) without pressing my foot to the accelerator, convinced that the grey concrete counterweight slabs are going to pancake my car. Three, and this has bugged me for years, I just can't figure out how a crane is put up. Please be patient with me here; I didn't get to play with Lego or Meccano as a kid, and, besides, I'm a girl:



How does the long, teetering horizontal piece get up there? Is it hoisted there by another crane? And if so, how does that crane get put up? Using another crane? Are we talking an infinitely long line of cranes here, each one hoisting up the next? If a crane on a truck is used to put up the horizontal arm, where on earth do you find a truck-mounted crane with a long enough proboscis? (The cranes in Sandton are dizzyingly tall; see pic).

And how do the (shudder) concrete slabs get up there? More worrying, what's holding them in the clampy metal bit? Why does it always look as if one slab is on the point of slipping out and plummeting onto my car?

Please put me out of my misery.

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I share your misery!! Keep checking comments to see if anyone has explained... but no...

Juno said...

Thanks for the comment anon! I am getting paranoid as to why no one has answered this question. Maybe no one knows? Maybe the cranes just appear overnight? My other half has a theory which might be true, but then again he says he's never seen it happen. His theory is that they built the vertical bit, using another crane to stack the sections on top of one another. Then, parallel to that, they build second tower - ie, the bit that will become the cross piece (ie, the horizontal arm). Then they hoist the concrete blocks up one by one, attach them to the top of the second (taller) tower, and it gradually swings upwards like the minute hand of a clock going from 6 to 9, to become horizontal. ??

tonypark said...

Hmmm. Yes. Have sometimes wondered myself about the mystery crane that lifts the other cranes into position.

When I was a boy I wanted to be the man that rode on the hook, hanging on to the cable.

That job no longer exists in Australia, due to a high mortality rate, as I understand it.

Still... cool job.

That, and driving the crane that secretly lifts the other cranes into position in the dead of night...

Juno said...

Tony, are you saying that you also don't know how the cranes get up there? (Actually, you probably do know, but you are keeping this secret boy info to yourself in order to torment me.)

meggie said...

Sorry can't help. I too, cringe at the thought of those dangerous 'creatures'.
How come we never see them leaving, either?

Claire said...

I can only think that it builds itself by lifting itself up and slotting in more sections at the bottom. It's the only thing that makes sense on my planet...

Juno said...

Now that is the most sensible expanation I have heard so far.

Juno said...

IMPORTANT UPDATE: someone on this blog (and I know who you are)claims to have seen a mobile crane putting up two other cranes in Rosebank.

Should I believe him?
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7246747939562843457&postID=3691308600751390101&page=1

Pule said...

Brace yourself for more cranes in Sandton CBD as there are more skyscrapers that are in the pipeline. I'm a crane lover but I understand your frastration but the country have got to grow. There'a planned 64 floors story in Maude Street and its currently under construction and there are plans for an 80 story building. Currently I counted 17 cranes that I can see as I drive to work, I wonder how many are hidden from my view.

In Johannesburg CBD, there re more than 14 cranes at Dooorenfotein Train Station, Park Station, Ellis Park Sports Precinct, UCKG Cathedral, Newtown, Zurich's head office etc and there are still more to come. I'm sorry to tell you that Salma all over South Africa, cranes are occupying our cities skylines.

Juno said...

I don't mind the cranes (look, I'm a girl, so I can't be expected to get excited about mechanical things), I just want to know how they get there. I am going to have to go to Doornfontein and lurk around hoping to catch a crane putting itself up. Never thought I would become a crane-spotter.

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