Farewell, 320 South Canal Tower Crane. You served the city well

Parting is always such sweet sorrow, but tower cranes don’t stay in one place forever, so shed no tears for the Potain MR298 Luffing Jib workhorse atop 320 South Canal in the West Loop. Last week, a derrick crane was installed to dismantle and lower the tower crane, and that it did, with removal, from what I could see 52 stories below, wrapping up Monday.

I made it over here in time to see a couple crane sections on the ground, and one loaded up onto a truck to be hauled away. I tried to wait for the truck to pull out of the construction site, for the dramatic grand exit, but I lack patience. I also tried waiting around long enough to see the derrick crane lift a load of steel up to the top. I didn’t last that long. This was interesting though. I’m going to make some assumptions here, but that load of steel looked heavy, and that derrick crane doesn’t have much reach away from the glass cladding on the west face of the tower. There were guy-wires on each end of the load, running on tracks running up the side of the tower, to keep the steel from rotating, which would have sent one end or the other crashing through the façade. Or at least scratching the heck out of the glass. Who knows, maybe these are common, but they’re something I’d never noticed before. The photo in the gallery below with the two red circles shows those attachments.

15 minutes elapsed between the time I took this first photo of the steel lift and the second photo, and it’s only about 3/4 of the way up. Glad that crew has more patience than I.

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