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Chicago's Ledge Reopens After Cracked Coating

Friday, June 21, 2019

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Last Monday (June 10), the Ledge—a popular tourist attraction at the Willis Tower in Chicago—was shut down after its protective coating began to crack.

According to a Loop skyscraper representative, there was no danger to the attraction’s visitors.

What Happened

As reported by USA Today, while Jesus Pintado was visiting his family, they went to the Willis Tower Skydeck to view Chicago from 103 stories up.

The tourist attraction allows for visitors to stand on a glass ledge that is extended roughly four feet out from the building itself, allowing guests to see the roads and buildings below, as well as a surrounding view of the landscape.

While waiting in line, Pintado heard a loud “boom” as the protective coating began to crack. According to the report, Pintado then watched as the people on the deck at the time turned pale in response to what they believed was the cracking glass.

A similar incident was reported to have happened in 2014 when Alejandro Garibay believed that that only thing between him and 1,353-foot fall to the Chicago River and Wacker Drive was a rapidly cracking pane of glass.

“I had my palms on the floor and I could feel it cracking,” said Garibay at the time. “Honestly, I was in shock, in disbelief. I was scared.”

However, only the 6-millimeter-thick protective coating cracked, just like in the most recent incident, leaving the three layers of half-inch structural glass—capable of holding five tons—fully intact.

In an email to the Chicago Tribune, Willis Tower spokesperson Terri Cornelius told reporters, “The protective coating, which acts like a screen protector for the Ledge, experienced some minor cracking. No one was ever in danger and the Ledge was immediately closed.”

By Monday evening, the coating had been replaced and on Tuesday, the attraction was open “as usual.”


Tagged categories: Accidents; Coating Materials - Commercial; Glass; Glass; Glass coatings; Maintenance + Renovation; Maintenance coating work; NA; North America; Protective Coatings; Protective coatings

Comment from Erik Andreassen, (6/25/2019, 9:14 PM)

I would be inclined to carry out a more intensive investigation. Cracking coatings do not make a (Quote Loud boom.) Cracking is a gradual process involving a stress over time. I personally radiographed a concrete cooling tower that, according to the workers had been known to produce loud bangs from within the walls. The result was the top 50 metres had to be demolished due to the re-bar expansion cracking the concrete.Check again guy's.

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