Efforts continue to remove teetering crane outside Atlanta high-rise

Area could remain closed through the weekend, officials say
Several blocks of Midtown remain closed Saturday as construction crews work to dismantle a teetering crane outside a 31-story office tower.



Several blocks of Midtown remain closed Saturday as construction crews work to dismantle a teetering crane outside a 31-story office tower.

Several blocks of Midtown remained closed Saturday as construction crews continued efforts to dismantle an unstable crane outside a high-rise office tower.

Heavy machinery was brought in from other states overnight to disassemble the teetering crane, but nearby residents may not be allowed to return to their homes this weekend.

The area near West Peachtree and 13th streets was evacuated Friday morning after a mechanical failure caused the massive crane to tilt as it was being brought down, officials said. After determining the crane was in danger of falling onto buildings below, Atlanta firefighters went door-to-door clearing hundreds of residents from their apartments and condos.

Nearby restaurants were encouraged not to open on Friday morning, and a medical office was forced to close its doors and turn away urgent care patients. Northside Medical Midtown remained closed on Saturday along with several surrounding businesses.

Nobody was injured in the construction mishap, and the crane operator was able to make it out safely, Atlanta fire spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford told reporters at the scene.

“Upon speaking with the construction workers and construction managers at the site, we were informed that in the process of taking down the tower crane, there was a mechanical failure with one of the hydraulic cylinders,” Stafford said Friday. “That (caused) the top of the crane to start to lean.”

In a statement released Saturday morning, a spokeswoman for the construction company Brasfield & Gorrie said crews and consultants worked through the night to establish a plan to safely remove the crane.

“Equipment was brought in from other states overnight to assist in this process,” communications director Meg Burton said in an email. “There will be increased activity at the jobsite as the team continues to erect and position assist cranes, which take significant time to assemble. The team is reinforcing the tower crane that will then be dismantled. We appreciate the residents’ and community’s patience during this process.”

Heavy machinery was brought in to remove a teetering crane outside a Midtown high-rise on Saturday, February 20, 2021. (Photo: Steve Schaefer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Credit: Steve Schaefer

The large mobile cranes, which took hours to assemble, weigh 600 and 900 tons, respectively, according to Stafford. He said it’s unclear how long it may take crews to reach the malfunctioning crane and get it disassembled, however, calling it a “slow process.”

“They’re going to be working around the clock to try to get it down,” Stafford said, though officials aren’t sure when the displaced residents will be allowed back in their homes.

Construction on the 31-story office tower at 1105 West Peachtree is nearly complete, which is why contactors attempted to lower the crane on Friday morning, fire officials said. The 410-foot building is set to include 675,000 square feet of office space and has two confirmed major tenants, Google and the law firm Smith, Gambrell & Russell.

The office tower has been under construction since December 2018 and is expected to completed this fall. Developers say it’s the tallest building to be constructed in Atlanta since the Great Recession.

West Peachtree remains shut down between 11th and 14th streets, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center. In addition, 12th and 13th streets are blocked off between West Peachtree and Spring streets.

Drivers can avoid the area this weekend by using Peachtree Street, Piedmont Road or the Downtown Connector to get around the construction site as work continues.

— Please return to AJC.com for updates.

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