On Wednesday, the troubled Millennium Tower in San Francisco successfully completed the first installation of load transfer, cementing the progress of one of the most challenging engineering projects ever attempted in the city. The tower has been the subject of much scrutiny since 2016 when it was discovered that the structure was sinking and tilting, fears that were reinforced by multiple subsequent investigative reports.
In response to the challenges presented by the tower’s instability, the engineers and developers of its site have engaged in a long process of design and development in order to ensure the safety of the structure, its occupants, and the buildings surrounding it. This process has involved the strengthening of the foundation, the installation of a pile of reinforced steel beams, and the creation of a loading system to be placed underneath the Millennium Tower that increases the tower’s vertical support.
The first stage of this project, the load transfer, was successfully completed on Wednesday. This involved the installation of a system of iron beams, chains, and pulleys to redistribute the weight of the tower to the piles of reinforced steel underneath. The load transfer also included the installation of jacks, which will increase the strength of the steel piles and better distribute the strain of the extra support.
The progress of the load transfer installation was overseen and approved by engineers from the San Francisco Building Inspectors Union and other city officials. In addition, the engineers reported that the surrounding neighboring buildings have properly responded to the added load from the transfer and there have been no seismic impacts from the installation.
The successful completion of this project marks an important milestone in a long, ongoing process and gives hope that the troubled Millennium Tower may one day be fully stabilized and restored. Going forward, the engineering team at the site plans to continue to monitor the tower’s performance to ensure that it remains safe and sound, and many San Franciscans are cautiously optimistic that the issues that have plagued the tower can be definitively resolved.