Occasionally during community presentations, members of the Bridge Project communications team are asked, “what’s it like at the very top of the tower?” The answer is, “it’s pretty awesome and, if you have a fear of heights, pretty heart-pounding.” This photo was taken from the east tower looking toward Terminal Island and the west tower.
There are a few things to understand about being at the top of the towers. First, it is an active construction zone with workers doing their jobs, so visitors to the site are confined to a platform that is about the footprint of a 10 ft. by 10 ft. office. Workers climb up a small ladder from the platform into a small basin where there is a winch to help with cable-stay placement. Ultimately, there will be a maintenance hoist installed with a retractable roof to enable future work on the tower’s exterior after the Bridge Project is completed.
In addition to standard personal protection equipment (hard hat, safety vest, closed-toe boots, safety glasses, etc.), workers at the top must wear safety harnesses to tie off and hard hats with lanyards or chin straps. Plus, workers have tie-offs for all of their tools to prevent drops.
Second, the platform is high. Really high. It is more than 50 stories in the air. It is open air, and – while there is a very solid toe board around the whole platform – visitors must be cautious in how they move around the space. Among the reasons that access to the top platform is limited is because people underestimate just how high it is. Speak to our safety manager, and he will tell stories of visitors who had a lot of bravado on the ground about going to the top, then froze during the elevator ride up and never made it onto the platform. Also, access is controlled to generally minimize the likelihood of things dropping from 500-plus feet in the air.