I just happened to be in the Kojimachi area of Chiyoda ward in Tokyo yesterday when suddenly the air was full of helicopters after a huge, 104-ton construction crane collapsed across the main road, just yards from Kojimachi subway station on the Yurakucho Line from Yurakucho.
Apparently the crane was trying to pull an 11-ton casing from out of the ground, when the maximum allowable load for it was 6.5 tons. That was enough to tip it over. The 28m-long arm of the crane struck a truck, trapping its occupants, and seriously injured a 62-year-old passerby.
The Shinjuku-bound lane of Shinjuku-dori (National Highway Route 20) running between Shinjuku and the Imperial Palace was blocked by the jib of the crane all day, and the whole area teemed with emergency services.
The area was quickly cordoned off by the police and emergency services as another crane was brought in to place to clear the toppled crane.
Today traffic flow has been restored to Shinjuku-dori, and the sun is out, but the construction site – festooned, as are all construction sites in Japan, with the slogan “Safety First” (see photo below) – is still chaos.
While taking the follow-up photos today, I also tried to check out of curiosity what the name of the construction company was - especially as mention of it was omitted in all the newspaper reports I'd read.
Interestingly, the information plaques, which are de rigueur on Japanese building sites, had been taken down. There was no information showing anywhere on the site whatsoever.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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