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Recent inspections have disclosed cracks, loose welds and sheared bolts in cranes at construction sites in Bellevue and Redmond. Experts say needed maintenance and inspections have been neglected. Specifically, contractors aren’t having their cranes inspected while they are on the ground in pieces. That may be due to a shortage of cranes, crane operators and crane erectors caused by a construction boom in Western Washington and across the country.

Besides the crane that collapsed on November 16, 2006 in downtown Bellevue (which killed an attorney who worked at Microsoft), three other cranes in the region have been found to have structural problems. One, also in Bellevue, had to be dismantled. The others were shut down.

Growing concern over crane safety and limited government oversight is fueling efforts to require state certification of both cranes and operators.

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