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Another Reason To Evacuate Downtown Miami: Construction Cranes

Tom Hudson
With the approach of Hurricane Irma, cranes in downtown Miami have changed from symbols of a development boom to potentially life-threatening hazards.

If evacuation orders for parts of downtown Miami aren’t enough of an incentive to leave, city officials are also telling people to leave downtown high-rises because of construction cranes.

Officials from the city of Miami say there are more than 20 cranes in downtown Miami right now. They're engineered to withstand winds of 145 miles per hour -- less than what Irma might bring if it hits as a category 4 or 5 storm.

City manager Daniel Alfonso says officials knew Irma could be a serious threat with about a week’s notice, and that wasn't enough time to take all the cranes down.

"Streets have to be closed, another crane has to be brought in," he said. "Taking them is not something you can easily do."

Alfonso says there’s no company that could’ve removed all the cranes quickly enough: It takes five to six days per crane, and they can be up to 900 feet tall and include 10,000-pound counterweights.

Under the Miami-Dade County’s evacuation order updated around 2 p.m. Thursday, people should already have evacuated zones A, B and C, where most of the cranes are located.