Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 232, 17 June 2013

Dear Reader, 
I've been blogging about the CTA substation project for nearly eight months, and now the project is at a turning point, moving from demolition and preparation to the actual building stage. This shift coincides with a turning point of my own: i've decided to take an extended break from blogging and most other internet activities. All three of my blogs (this one, Tattered Film Palace, and Ms. Demeanor's Photo du Jour) will be on hiatus while i go on cyber-sabbatical. I will be focusing on some real-world projects, looking at the world through a larger frame than either a camera viewfinder or computer screen, and reacquainting myself with the fine arts of reading and writing on paper. I hope to return to this and my other online projects, restored and refreshed, in about a month's time. In the meantime, i will only sporadically check the comments and read my emails, so don't be upset if your comments are not posted or your emails answered as promptly as usual. 

Here is one final shot of the excavator in action. Today it is tearing out huge chunks of pavement (far bigger than the debris from the old retaining wall), clearing away everything as far as the line that was scored in the pavement last week. 

Now follow my lead and step away from the computer and go bask in the summer sunshine. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 231, 16 June 2013

It looks like the team from Stalworth Underground has finished up their part of the job; i noticed this morning that most of their equipment (see picture below) is gone. I'm sorry to see them go; they were a great crew and contributed a lot to this blog by telling me the proper names of things and what purpose they served, as well as explaining what they were doing at each stage and what the next step would be. 

29 May 2013: Stallworth equipment in upper right.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Day 228, 13 June 2013

Here's how things looked at ground level this morning as more dirt was dug out for the foundation of the substation and the newly exposed sections of steel paneling were scraped clean.

The demolition of the wall was one of the most spectacular (and noisiest) parts of this project so far, but it turns out that just because it looked like the wall was gone, the job wasn't quite over. This afternoon, the excavator went to work drilling out the foundations of the wall. On a purely selfish level, i am using this as an excuse to avoid my spring cleaning for a few more days, since this part of the job generates a lot of dust and grit.

Finally, i had a sentimental moment today when i noticed the exposed roots of the Ailanthus Altissima  trees that used to grow on the embankment (visible in the lower center of the picture below). They were the first things to go when this project began, and i wrote about them in the first couple of entries in this blog. They were scraggly things, but pretty in their own way, and i liked looking at the world through their leaves.

UPDATE: Rockpile by Moonlight
This big pile of boulders is all that remains of the section of the wall's foundation that the excavator was digging out today. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 227, 12 June 2013

The ground is being excavated to prepare for the building foundation. I think it may have been a different operator in the excavator crawler today, his style seemed different. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day 226, 11 June 2013

There was some activity at the south end of the site this morning, which required digging a hole to work on the steel panel below ground level.

Small bracket-like pieces have been added at intervals along the steel panels.

A string was extended to measure a straight line along the full length of the site; this was then outlined in pink spray paint; then a large circular saw mounted on a small motorized vehicle followed the length of the line, scoring the surface of the roadway. I'm not certain what this line is marking, but as the first picture below shows, it extends a few feet beyond the original wall into what had been the paved street.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 223, 8 June 2013

My Learning Curve

This morning i learned that the things i've been referring to as bolts are in fact shear studs, which are used to make a strong connection between steel and concrete. Well, to be honest, all this was explained to me this morning while i was out walking Doggie Demeanor, but since i hadn't yet had my first cup of coffee, surprisingly little sank in. I spent the rest of the morning muttering to myself, "I know he said they're called 'shear something-or-others.'" I finally had to ask one of the other workers this afternoon, and have now added the term "shear stud" to my vocabulary. I've gone back and corrected the past few posts to reflect the correct terminology.

The machinery seems so quiet and peaceful now that everyone has gone home for the day.

Old Stinky

Friday, June 7, 2013

Day 222, 7 June 2013

Another busy day as more and more shear studs are added to the walers and steel panels. Careful measurements are taken to make sure they are lined up correctly. 
[updated 8 June]

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 221, 6 June 2013

The work continues to move along rapidly, and a little rain isn't enough to slow things down. The lower row of walers was completed today, and shear studs are being added to both the top and bottom of both rows of walers. [updated 8 June]
Good morning!
The day started out drizzly, and a canopy was needed to shelter the welding torch. 
Later this afternoon, under somewhat clearer skies, shear studs bristled from both the top and bottom of the walers.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 220, 5 June 2013

It was a very busy day on the site today. The second row of walers is being installed around the lower set of tiebacks and is now about halfway completed. This morning, the vertical rows of painted dots on the steel panels were each gone over with what appeared to be a small grinding or sanding wheel; by the end of the day (bottom picture), long bolts* had been inserted at each of the dots. This thing is really being built to last!
* I've just learned that these are shear studs, rather than bolts. [Updated 8 June]

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 219, 4 June 2013

Au Revoir, Hütte!

The Hütte (pronounced like "Hootie"), the big blue machine that's been dominating the scene since March, made its stately departure early this morning. It has been the star of two short videos that i've posted on YouTube: the first (CLICK HERE), shot on 26 March, shows it installing tiebacks; the second (CLICK HERE), shot on 1 June, shows it removing the metal tubes from around the tiebacks. Watching it in action has been a lot of fun, though i must confess that my eardrums will not miss it at all.  

Driving off into the sunrise
The Hütte was loaded onto a truck and driven off as the morning sun added a little dramatic lighting to the scene. Thanks for being such a cool and crazy-looking piece of machinery, Hütte! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 217, 2 June 2013

Despite it being Sunday, the crew was back on the job this morning for a few hours (though finished by the time i took these pictures). One of the guys was kind enough to explain this latest step in the process, so today we don't need to rely on me speculating about what i think they are doing. The lower row of tiebacks has been installed, but needs to be embedded in a compacted layer of grout to keep them intact. The grout is slowly forced into the space surrounding the tiebacks over the course of three days, which explains why the crew was working on Saturday and Sunday this week. Meanwhile, the metal tubing that was inserted with the tiebacks to prevent the loose soil from collapsing around them is removed. This was the subject of yesterday's video posted on YouTube. 

As i mentioned yesterday and as these pictures will attest, the work site has not been looking especially scenic these last few days, especially with all the mud and soupy puddles of grout, but it still represents the progress that's being made as it get closer to the construction stage of the project. 

If you haven't seen my videos, which are admittedly not Academy Award material but at least give some indication of how these big machines operate, please check out my channel (MsArminia) on YouTube. And please don't ask me why i used to be Ms. Arminia instead of Ms. Demeanor; it's a long and not very logical story involving ancient German history and my lifelong efforts to find the perfect alias. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Day 216, 1 June 2013

Saturday was a work day for the crew this week. The work site is a muddy mess, and not very photogenic, but CLICK HERE for a short video of the Hütte in action, removing the pipes that were used to insert the tiebacks.