The view from the top: Chinn Construction crane provides a West Seattle vantage point
The 150 foot tall construction crane currently in place at the intersection of 39th Ave S.W. Alaska Street S.W. and Fauntleroy Way S.W. in West Seattle is decorated for the holidays. The construction site will consist of two buildings that will hold 240 apartments, 500 parking spaces, and an LA Fitness Center.
The crane sports two 16 foot tall "trees" of lights, a 7 foot in diameter Christmas wreath,
and two 12th Man LED signs for the Seahawks that are about 4 feet to a side. The construction project is expected to be complete by February 2015.
Chinn Construction LLC, using lulls in the construction process, decorated the crane in stages finally completing the lighting process this week. James Casal, Superintendent of Chinn Construction LLC said, "The supplier of the operator and what we call a 'bell man' on the ground supplied by Garner Construction stepped up, supplied, and installed with our help all the Christmas lights, the wreath and the 12th man lit sign boards. There's another hoist on the crane that we use to haul the lunch up or a backpack with gear or we hook on to the crane itself with a long rope on it and he pulls it up. Then we take the lights and from the top, dangle them down the side. A guy then just works his way down attaching them to the tower. The boom has a catwalk on it and they walk along it with safety harnesses clipped on to a cable and install the white lights that go out the boom's edge. It's taken them a few days and we've got to keep running too."
The holiday lighting will stay up through new year's eve but the 12th man signboard will likely stay up much longer though, "everyone on the crew is after me to let them take it down and put it up at their house," he said laughing.
On December 11, 2013, James Casal, Superintendent of Chinn Construction LLC, invited me to climb up to the top of the crane around 7 am. I made sure I had my steel toe shoes on and a good pair of work gloves as well as a safety hard hat. I signed a waiver and then once on the crane, I slowly began my climb up a caged metal ladder straight up to 150+ feet. It was a good climb up and I stopped at every platform to check out the scenery for a brief moment but once I reached the very top platform where the crane's cab was, I was blown away by the spectacular view of West Seattle. I have never done this before and to get this great opportunity was awesome.
The morning started out cold and foggy but
cleared in time for an amazing sunrise over the Cascade Mountain Range
and view of our beautiful Emerald City beyond the suburbs of West Seattle.
Here is the view of the big project as seen from the crane platform.
The crane operator named Vance Allred aka Big Dog was super nice and had a lot of stories to tell me about his past projects he had worked on and is one heck of an operator.
The view from inside the cab looking straight down gives you an idea of what the operator sees when operating.
I also can't forget Rich Olson aka Bullet who is a great and funny guy who helped hang the lights up on the crane and is one strong union ironworker.
Overall I had the time of my life and I loved the views and photos that I got to take when I got up there. You definitely get a good workout that's for sure.
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