One of my regular bike routes takes me over the hills between Redmond and Bellevue on the SR520 bike trail. This parallels the highway and provides a good route to get to the lake (although the climbs can be a bit tiring on the legs). As you get up to the highest point on the crossing, you pass a new footbridge. The light rail system is being extended to Redmond and there is going to be a station up here by the Microsoft campus. Part of the construction is a new footbridge across the highway to allow passengers to also access the campus on the other side of the road.
The bridge is being finished up at the moment so isn’t open for use – the light rail will open to this location in 2023. It is well advanced though. They have some interesting artwork decorating the interior of the bridge. I stopped to get some shots of it while out on a ride. You might suggest I needed a rest after making the climb but there is not evidence to support that hypothesis!
Driving through Bellingham, we took a turn passed a building called the Granary. It took us in to an area that looks like it is planned for some significant redevelopment but for which, not much has yet started. In the center of the area was a line of silos of some type. The metal looked like it had been refinished and the textures of the construction really caught the eye in the soft fall light. It would have been rude not to take a few shots. There was also a wooden silo of some sort that looked like it had been refinished but I didn’t get any shots of that for reasons that escape me now!
The replacement of the SR520 bridge across Lake Washington is being undertaken in stages. The main floating bridge element has been completed and now they are working on the next section through to Portage Bay. Traffic from the old lower eastbound section has been diverted up on to the new westbound section while a new eastbound bridge is built. Driving across the bridge you get to see some serious construction hardware. However, you can’t photograph it while driving.
A bike ride took alongside the construction site so I was able to stop and get some photos with my phone. The large lifting structures are actually running on top of a temporary bridge built just for them. These will lift the new bridge sections in to place and allow the construction of the new eastbound section to be done. I’m not sure of the schedule for completion of this work but, once it is done, it will just leave the last phase to I-5 to be done.
Continuing the theme of the construction activities that went on around our apartment when we lived in Chicago, there was one day that was a little out of the ordinary. I had been for a walk in the afternoon and was coming back along Wabash when I saw a lot of people hanging around. Then I spotted the TV crews and a bunch of law enforcement.
It turned out that someone had climbed one of the cranes and was threatening to jump. Everyone was waiting to see what happened. An inflatable mattress had been installed underneath the crane in case the person did jump but someone was working to talk them down. I had no interest in being around if things didn’t turn out well so, having seen what was going on, I went on my way. I don’t recall it being a big story later so assumed it all got resolved satisfactorily.
More from our hike on the Iron Goat Trail. I described the snow sheds in this post previously. There were some areas of the route that suffered such regular disruption that an alternative solutions was needed. When the track got taken out, trains could get stuck in the mountains, sometimes for days while things got repaired. One of the trestle bridges was washed away in a land slide and, since this wasn’t the first time, the chosen solution was to cut new tunnels.
A tunnel was also cut at Windy Point to avoid a tight curve on an exposed promontory. These tunnels are still there. They were cut from the rock by hand. Timber linings were inserted to prevent anything falling on to the track but the timbers are no long gone in most areas. However, you do see a few pieces lying at odd angles in places. There are also some access tunnels that were used for the crews to access the tunnel during construction allowing multiple faces to dig at the same time to speed construction. It must have been tough work up on the mountains in all weathers hacking through the rock to build this.
The tunnels are not considered safe to enter these days. Some are blocked by falls. I wasn’t interested in heading in there anyway. I wasn’t equipped for it and the hike was why we were there. However, I did peak in to the entrances of several tunnels to see where they had been cut in to the rock faces. We had made an easy drive to get to this location followed by a simple walk but, when this was all being built, this was the middle of nowhere. The process of picking an alignment and building it all from scratch is most impressive. Ultimately, a new Cascades tunnel was cut and the train no longer needed to take this route. Instead of turning up on to the lower grade, trains now continue up the valley and enter the new tunnel to head east.
Working from home introduces you to sounds from the street that you never normally hear when you are there outside working hours. Nancy knows all of these things since she hears them all the time but they are new to me. However, we were both taken aback by something that sounded like a roaring noise. I had to investigate. It appears that the power company was doing some work digging up the road outside our street. I guess they had to cut in to a gas line and they had set up some device, presumably to burn off excess gas before continuing their work. It was only a brief event but a noisy one!
Tower cranes are ubiquitous in big cities. The only way to construct tall buildings, there are the sign of a prosperous city when there are lots of them. They can be a nuisance when you are taking photos of a skyline of course since they interrupt the flow of a cityscape. You seen them all the time but you don’t often get to see how one is assembled. When we were watching the tower construction across from our building in Chicago, we got to see the cranes being put together.
The first thing that is needed is a big crane! Got to have a crane to make a crane! The base was put in place and then the cab was lifted into place. From this, the elements of both booms were lifted and attached. Then the counterbalance weights could be added along with the machinery to do the lifting work. It was fun to watch it all go together and to see the guys walking around on the structure once it was in place including all of the bracing elements. Once the crane is complete, there is a sleeve section that allows the inner section to be slide up and a new section to be inserted.
Two cranes were built for this project. They were both within the footprint of the building so it grew around them and they grew above it. There was never terribly much of the crane exposed above the building so it was well supported. One of the crane operators on this project used to take his camera up. He had a great selection of images from up there with all sorts of things going on a round him and some incredibly variable weather. I will have to see whether those images are still available online.
Across from McCarran airport is a construction site. While plenty remains to be done, it is easy to see that this is the new home of the Oakland Raiders (not Oakland for much longer). We drove right by it on the interstate but I had no way of photographing it then. However, I did get a shot of the structure from the airport parking lot. I wonder what it will look like when it is finished? Can it be as impressive as the new stadium in LA?
I have stayed in the same hotel in Addison TX a couple of times recently for work trips. The view from my window has been of a building site that has been progressively developing on each visit. On one morning, I was just getting ready to check out when I could see the crew getting ready to lift a concrete panel into place. The crane they were using was a substantial beast. The crew were scattering to different locations to carry out their roles and then they started lifting the panel. They had several lift lines which could be controlled individually to allow the, to rotate the panel as required. Sadly I had to go before they finished. I should be back before too long, though, so I shall see how progress is going.
A previous post showed the start of construction of the new stadium in LA. When I was on that trip, my arriving flight had passed right by the construction site but I didn’t have a camera to hand at the time. I made another LA trip more recently and, this time, I had a camera at hand as we made our final approach. Obviously the construction process has moved on a bit but there is still plenty to be done. Maybe I will make some more trips and get further updates in the future.