Crack discovered in downtown crane |

Crack discovered in downtown crane

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN ” For three weeks, the huge red-and-white tower crane at The Residences at the Little Nell building site has stood still while smaller cranes worked in its place.

On July 7, workers with Swinerton Builders found a crack in the boom, and the company decided to stop using the crane.

It wasn’t possible to complete repairs on the crane and have it reinspected by an engineer prior to the crane’s scheduled removal this week, said Swinerton spokesman Dave Wermerskirchen. So, deciding that they’d “rather be safe than sorry,” company officials suspended use of the crane, he said.

Wermerskirchen said Swinterton has always gone “far beyond” the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. But he acknowledged that recent crane collapses have heightened awareness to crane safety at Swinerton.

“There’s no question about it,” he said.

Crane safety has become an issue of concern in the construction industry this year after a high-profile crane collapse in New York City killed seven people. That accident was followed by another collapse in New York City, as well as collapses in Miami, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo.

Locally, a crane collapse on June 17 in Snowmass Village sent one worker to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction and suspended work on the Viceroy Residences in Base Village for a few days. On July 23, a crane at the Vail Spa Condominiums fell across the South Frontage Road, snarling traffic but causing no injuries.

The crack in the crane at the slopeside Residences at The Little Nell was discovered during an annual third-party inspection, said Swinerton project executive Kerry Swain. The crane is inspected annually by a third party, “at bare minimum,” said Wermerskirchen. “Any one of a thousand things” can trigger an additional inspection, he said.

Wermerskirchen said that using the smaller cranes in lieu of the tower crane has added “a little” cost to Swinerton’s budget, but he didn’t think it had delayed the project. The Residences at The Little Nell should be completed this year, he said.

Swinerton began dismantling and removing the crane, which has been on-site for about two years, this week, said Swain. The process takes three or four days and requires another crane to lift parts off of the first crane, starting with the boom. The dismantled crane will then be shipped back on trailers to Lewis Equipment, which rented it to Swinerton Builders.

The section of Galena Street near The Residences at The Little Nell will be closed during the dismantling.

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