Friday, May 30, 2014

The Tower's Ledge

It was back in August of 2012 that Paula and I took a 4 day vacation to Chicago. You can read my 10 post series trip report if you look through my blog archives back around that time period. 

Yesterday, I saw a news report about an incident at one of the most popular Chicago tourist attractions we visited on that trip. 

The Willis tower, a 109 story building, is the 2nd tallest in the United States. On the 103rd floor there is an observation deck. The unique feature of that deck is "The Ledge." There are several along the side of the building. They are a series of clear boxes that extend out over the edge of the building to give visitors a view as if they were floating outside the building more than 1350 above street level. 

Here's what it looked like when I was standing on it looking straight down, 2 years ago. 

These boxes are very secure and have very thick sheets of glass all around them, especially on the bottom. They can support up to 10,000 pounds.

The event that sparked the news story was the cracking of the 1/2 in thick top layer on the top of of the bottom glass of the Ledge box. Here's what it looked like at the time of the incident. 
You can probably find details about the story by doing an internet search. 

When I saw this story on the news it gave me a bit of a chill down my spine. Having been on that Ledge glass I could relate to what those guys felt when they saw the glass crack. 

The story's relevance give me an opportunity to share a few more pictures I took when Paula and I visited Willis Tower. 

Here is a view of the Ledge box from the side. 
You can see the thickness of the glass on the bottom of the box. From a close up you can see it even better. 

If you look close you can get a better perspective on the very top sheet of the glass that the visitor stands on. It's meant to experience damage from the public standing on it and is changed every 3 to 6 months.

Here's one more of the pictures I took on the Ledge with both Paula and I standing on it. This one looks out over the area just a little bit more. 

The "glass cracking" incident presented no danger to those who were on it when it happened. If you ever get to go to Willis Tower don't hesitate to go on "The Ledge" it is safe and one of the most unnerving while at the same time thrilling experiences you'll ever have while standing still.  

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