As Hurricane Irene approaches New York and other cities on the east coast of the US, construction sites everywhere are halting work and securing work sites in preparation for the coming wind and rain. According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, preparations at the construction site at ground zero on the towering One World Trade Center include placing sandbags to block flooding and readying pumps for clean-up following the storm, covering electrical equipment, storing scaffolding, and securing the large cranes which are in use at the site.
On NBC Nightly News Thursday, Brian Williams reported that the 13 giant cranes at the site are not designed to sustain winds in excess of 65 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center is reporting that even though Irene appears to be weakening a little as it heads toward landfall Saturday morning, the storm’s current maximum sustained wind speed is still 100 miles per hour. Hurricane force winds are defined as greater than 73 mph, so even a category 1 storm would be too much for the cranes.
Similar procedures are being implemented at construction sites along the projected path of the storm as construction crews brace their unfinished projects against potential damage.
Construction on the 104-floor steel frame of One World Trade Center has progressed to the 78th floor so far, with the outer glass reaching the 49th floor and the concrete floors completed through the 68th floor.
Photo courtesy NBC Nightly News