Crane, giant bag used to remove tons of snow atop Broad Ripple construction project

Construction crew forms snow-removal assembly line

INDIANAPOLIS - As Indianapolis dug out from Wednesday's blizzard, construction crews used a dozen shovels and a crane to remove tons of snow from the top of a new parking garage in the Broad Ripple neighborhood.

More than 7 inches of snow and even larger drifts covered what will be the third deck of the new parking garage at Broad Ripple Avenue and College Avenue, so workers devised a system for tackling the job.

Watch: Crane, bag used to remove snow

Crews began shoveling the mounds of snow into a giant plastic bag, which was then tied up like a typical trash bag. A massive crane that's been used during the building project for equipment and supplies was then hooked to the plastic bag, which was raised nearly 50 feet in the air.

Load after load, the bags were swiveled around to the southwest corner of the new parking structure, where workers would untie the bag.

The crane then lifted the bags to dump hundreds of pounds of snow off the edge with each load.

"This sure gets the job done," said one of the workers, as he shoveled away piles and clumps of snow that were left behind when the crane lifted a bag and swiveled around to collect the next load.

Workers were seen manually shoveling snow from the perimeter of the parking garage structure, a 600-space parking and retail facility on which construction began earlier this year.

The spot where the crane was used to dump loads of snow off the edge of the structure ended up with a 9-foot mountain of snow below the dump site.

The unique snow removal project lasted several hours, and at times it resembled an efficient assembly line.  Seconds after the crane would lower the large plastic bag to the deck of the parking garage, at least 12 workers quickly used shovels to fill the bag again. 

In less than a couple minutes, the bag would be filled and tied up to be lifted into the air to be emptied once again in a process that kept repeating itself.

Workers said it wasn't an option to wait for the blizzard's snowfall to melt because work needed to progress on the upper deck of the project.

As snow cascaded down from the deck 30 feet above the ground, visitors to an adjacent veterinary clinic sometimes stopped to watch the unusual site, which wrapped up around 3:00 on the afternoon following the snowfall.

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