NECA-IBEW Team Help Tightrope Artist Nik Wallenda Walk into Record Books Again
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On November 2, 2014, daredevil tightrope performer Nik Wallenda walked into the record books again as he made two tightrope walks hundreds of feet above Chicago's downtown. The first walk began at the Marina City West Tower and crossed 450 feet to the Leo Burnett Building, starting from a height of 588 feet and rising to 671 feet, setting the world record for the steepest tightrope walk.
Nik's second feat of the night was crossing from the Marina City West Tower to the East Tower--blindfolded. This walk, at a distance of 94 feet, took place more than 540 feet above the ground and set the world record for the longest blindfolded tightrope walk.
Instrumental to Nik's record-breaking success were NECA contractor O'Connell Electric and IBEW Local 1249, who had all the all-important task of running the tightrope and stabilization wires between buildings. The team has helped Nik before and set up the wires for his celebrated walks across Niagara Falls in 2012 and the Grand Canyon in 2013. Just as each of those walks had their own unique circumstances for engineering and preparation, so did the Chicago walk.
Working in the tight confines of an urban environment, O'Connell and IBEW 1249 had to use smaller-scale equipment in setting up the wire and were forced to do so in the wee hours of the morning to minimize disruption. In addition, a storm front blew in during the installation, bringing with it winds of more than 60 miles per hour.
In this edition of "Industry Today," see how the careful planning and perseverance of the NECA-IBEW team set the stage for Nik Wallenda to once again dazzle people around the world in these death-defying tightrope walks.
ABOUT NECA: The National Electrical Contractors Association, or NECA, has provided more than a century of service to the $130 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light, and communication technology to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA's national and 119 local chapters advance the industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development.
ABOUT THE IBEW: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or IBEW, represents approximately 725,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields, including utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads and government. The IBEW has members in both the United States and Canada and stands out among the American unions in the AFL-CIO because it is among the largest and has members in so many skilled occupations.
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