As if the high winds and heavy rains weren’t enough of a safety hazard for the people of Florida, citizens who are staying in the area also need to be concerned about the dozens of tower cranes that are still erected throughout downtown.
As of Sunday night, reports have come in about 2 tower cranes in downtown Miami that have collapsed due to the high winds, crashing into nearby buildings on their way down. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported in either collapse.
The first crane that fell was near the AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat, and the second happened north of the first crane and was located on a project that sits along the water.
There are about two dozen tower cranes still standing in Miami right now. They were not dismantled prior to the storm because city officials said it would take two weeks because of the small amount of companies able to complete the work.
The cranes are rated to withstand 145 mph winds and some of the cranes were left in “free slew” by releasing their parking brake. That allowed them to spin freely in the wind, making them able to withstand higher winds without collapsing. The City of Miami sent out this tweet explaining the dangers looming over the tower cranes last week.
Residents close to other tower cranes in the area have been urged to move to the opposite side of their building, in case other cranes start to topple, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Some news organizations are pointing out that there were some regulatory battles between contractor groups and Miami-Dade County a few years back. The county wanted stricter regulations on cranes to make them safer in hurricanes, but a district court overruled the regulation after the contractor groups fought back. It was ultimately determined that the proposed rule violated the OSH Act, as there was already a federal regulation that handled wind loads. The interesting thing is that the proposed regulation wanted the cranes to have a wind load rating of 140mph, but as the tweet mentioned above, the cranes that are standing in Miami right now are loaded for 145mph.
The video below, shared by ABC13 - WSET on Facebook, shows a pretty good view of the first crane that collapsed Sunday morning