Construction work, as at 21 April 2020

Photos: Klaus Helbig/Frank Marburger

Last week, the first of two cranes was set up at Wilhelmstrasse 1, which lifts building materials, steel and formwork elements into the excavation pit. It will now remain on site until the shell stage of the Reinhard Ernst Museum is completed.

The erected crane is what is known as a tower crane or top slewer; the slewing gear is located at the upper end of the crane tower. To prevent it from collapsing when moving materials, 75 tonnes of central ballast weigh down the foot of the transport handling equipment. The crane measures 50 metres (which is about half the height of the Marktkirche). Its arm is 60 metres long and capable of carrying weights at its tip of up to three tonnes. The blue banner on the crane is not just there for advertising purposes for the construction company from Ingelheim but also shows the wind direction – information that is also important for the crane operator. He has to climb up around 250 rungs to get to his workplace. As with cars or lorries, a crane operator has to have the appropriate driver’s licence and be very familiar with the cranes he is in charge of (trolley jib, luffing jib, luffing crane). In addition to a practical test, there is also a theoretical test, in which, for example, he has to demonstrate an understanding of physical fundamental terms (such as the lever principle). But a crane operator also has to master the deliberate interception of swinging loads, braking behaviour or specific hand signals. And anyone who has ever stood on a 10-metre springboard in a swimming pool will be able to understand that a head for heights is also required to take on this responsible activity. Incidentally, operating a crane was usually a woman’s job in the former East Germany …