Viewing the Ohio River Bridges Project from the Tower Crane on Pier Four

Looking down the outsideof the tower crane on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky
Looking down the outside of the tower crane mast on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Last week I decided to climb up the inside of the mast of the tower crane on pier four of the Ohio River Bridges Project to get an overview of the progress being made with the downtown span. This first image was taken from inside the mast at around 60 feet up. From here you can see the ironworkers building the rebar structure of the eastern tower for the northern bridge towers on pier four. The rectangular objects are the barges that are used to supply materials and working platforms for the many skilled trades working on the tower.

Looking down the ladder of the tower crane on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky
Looking down the ladder of the tower crane on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky

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This image is from inside the tower crane mast and shows the stairs that the crane operator must climb each day to get to his “office” at the top of the crane. Each section of the crane mast is approximately 20 feet tall and there is a landing between sections so that in the event someone climbing the crane were to slip and fall they wouldn’t plummet all the way to the bottom of the tower. It is still very intimidating to climb up the ladders and see how high I am going as I ascend the stairs. I haven’t made it to the top yet but it won’t be long until I am able to climb that high and see what the crane Operator sees and does from his perch high above the river.

Looking out over the Kennedy Bridge in Louisville Kentucky from within the mast of the tower crane for the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Looking out over the Kennedy Bridge in Louisville Kentucky from within the mast of the tower crane for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

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This view of the I-65 Kennedy Bridge is from around 100 feet above the Ohio River. In the background you can see the Louisville skyline and the Clark Memorial Bridge which was built in 1928.  While in the foreground the mast of one of the cranes on the work barges rises through the frame.

Looking down at the west side of the bridge tower from the inside the tower crane framework on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky
Looking down at the west side of the bridge tower from the inside the tower crane framework on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky #2

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In this image you can get an idea of the scale of the western tower base for the northern bridge tower. Again I am up approximately 100 feet above the river and looking west down the Ohio River. Once the ironworkers finish building the structure at this level the tower will transform from the solid concrete pentagon that is being completed into a round hollow tower that will expend up to it’s final height of around 175 feet. The form will be hollow so that the cables for the bridge deck can be tensioned and maintained once the bridge goes into service. I’m told there will be a staircase inside the hollow section that goes all the way to the top of the tower.

Looking down from the inside tower crane framework on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky
Looking down from the inside tower crane framework on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky

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This photo of two ironworkers show the woman on the left wrestling a piece of rebar into place as the man on top directs her progrress. When I’m watching these men and women hang off the sides of these structures I am struck by how strong and agile they must be to do their work.

Looking down from the inside tower crane framework on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky #2
Looking down from the inside tower crane framework on the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville, Kentucky #2

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Ironworkers tying rebar for the west tower on pier 4 of the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span as seen from inside the tower crane mast.
Ironworkers tying rebar for the east tower on pier 4 of the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span as seen from inside the tower crane mast.

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These shots are just more views of the rebar being tied and hopefully give some idea of the scale of the materials that they are working with/. The structure on the right hand side is a rack lifted by the tower crane Operator that carries the rebar up to the Ironworkers. Whenever the crane rotates at the top the crane’s mast sways slightly and I realize that I am inside a big steel cage high above the river.

Ironworkers tying rebar for the west tower on pier 4 of the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span as seen from inside the tower crane mast. #2
Ironworkers tying rebar for the east tower on pier 4 of the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Span as seen from inside the tower crane mast. #2

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This final image is from just a little higher in the tower crane mast; I think it too gives some idea of how massive the structures that these men and women build really are.

All the images in this post are three frame, handheld, brackets of +2, 0 and -2 EV exposures that were merged into single HDR images using NIK HDR Efex Pro 2 and Aperture 3 software. The anti-ghosting settings were all in the range of 80% to 100% in order to isolate the people. In several cases I chose the overexposed frame as the baseline image to reference for the anti-ghosting settings because it seemed to do a better job than the normal (0) exposure.

8 thoughts on “Viewing the Ohio River Bridges Project from the Tower Crane on Pier Four

  1. Nice images Nick, having spent my prior life in municipal engineering in a small Midwest state, I can relate to these. I also was involved in a couple of low bridge projects. But due to my fear of heights, I didn’t go for these types of altitude shots! Anything over 20 feet off the ground was not my forte! ; < ( Enjoy your view and Make A Great Day!

    1. I too have a fear of heights but since finding out how much I enjoy construction photography I have managed to put it aside in search of the perfect image. Thanks for the kind comment about the photos.

  2. These photographs are beautiful. The compositions speak of a unique aesthetic that draws the viewer into the scene completely. The shapes, textures and color add a wonderful demention to the images.

    1. Thanks Ellen I want the viewer to feel the sense of vertigo that comes from hanging over the edge with a camera to my eye.

  3. your first shot accomplished your mission for me as I certainly had vertigo when looking at it. The others, not so much. All are great shots with good composition and color. Thanks for sharing them.

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