Austin News


136 BR - Cranes are for wimps

I got a call from Daniel at around 9:30 in the morning last Monday telling me that a big photo op was in the making. And he wasn't kidding. I got on my bike and peddled my ass down to the Ritz to watch as six guys worked to raise a 4,200 pound steel I-beam 16 feet, 2 inches off the ground without the use of a crane. When Daniel first told me about this monster of an I-beam, I asked if they were going to use a crane. He said no, and I had a hard time envisioning how they would get the thing into the building, much less 16 feet off the ground.

Turns out the process is rather straight forward, though it is a hell of a lot of work involving chainfalls, winches, blowtorches and lots of elbow grease. You can check out how it all works in the new Flickr set, or peep the short video (4 1/2 mins) I made of the event on Google Video. Don't worry, I didn't add hip background music or anything (no YouTube cliches here!), just the sweet sounds of a construction site, including profanity (you've been warned). Also, please pardon the technical problems. I have much to learn about posting videos online.

Anyway, as you can see from the rest of last week's photos, the project has really moved ahead by leaps and bounds. The major interior steel structure work is almost complete and that big hole where a roof used to be is back to being a roof. Sort of. When I left the site Friday afternoon, most of the new roof had been installed. Next up: light gauge steel framing for the wall interiors. And once those walls are up folks, we've pretty much got ourselves a movie theater. Well, maybe not quite yet, but we're certainly getting there!

Fun Fact: The guys from Bill Jett Fabrication, the folks responsible for our steel construction, have put approximately eight tons of steel columns and beams in place inside the Ritz.

NOTE: I have started a second Alamo @ The Ritz photo set:
Alamo @ The Ritz Set 1 (April 24 - June 7)
Alamo @ The Ritz Set 2 (June 11 - present)

News Categories: Austin


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