Cameras set up on Tokyo Skytree to monitor snow, ice build-up

TOKYO —

The number of surveillance cameras installed on the Tokyo Skytree is set to double to 45 by the end of the year in an attempt to prevent clumps of snow and ice from falling on passersby and property around the tower.

Reports that chunks of snow and ice had fallen from the upper portion of the structure to the street below within a 400-meter radius hit the headlines in 2011. There have so far been four cases of falling ice, believed to originate from the Skytree, causing damage to nearby property. City officials have voiced concerns that such incidents have the potential to cause serious injury. Tobu Railway Company, which operates Tokyo Skytree, has been stressing that measures are being taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

Glass designed to prevent the accumulation of snow and ice was installed on the observation deck last year. Embedded in the glass, developers said, are 3,000 tiny electric heaters that are designed to melt the snow and stop it from building up.

Tobu Railway said that extra cameras to monitor ice and snow are being installed on the structure before the onset of winter. To date, around 20 cameras have been installed in an attempt to monitor ice and snow build-up and give operators time to clear potential problem clumps and prevent accidents. A team of around 60 security guards has been tasked with warning pedestrians and local residents on the ground if accumulation begins to pose a danger.

Japan Today

  • -4

    Elvensilvan

    The question here is: would 45 cameras be enough to monitor all of the nooks and crannies of the Skytree where snow may build up?

    The monstrosity is 634 meters high ... now even if the cameras are placed at areas high enough to become a threat, say halfway up the tower, 45 cameras would mean that if the cameras are places in a straight line, they would be 7 meters apart. But since the tower is 3-dimensional, it would mean that the cameras would have to be placed further apart. And I am suspecting that several would be placed at critical areas like the antenna and observation deck ... but what about the other areas where snow may build up?

  • 0

    JapanGal

    I would hate to be the first person to die from a giant icicle.

    Needs hundreds of cameras. When pieces fall off, they blow with the wind and that is the problem.

    Looks like time for hard plastic umbrellas.

  • -1

    sidesmile

    Rub the whole thing top-to-toe in salt.

  • -4

    smithinjapan

    Perhaps they should have thought a little harder in the original design process. People who suffer any injury and/or property damage should be allowed to sue the pants off Tobu Railway.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    People who suffer any injury and/or property damage should be allowed to sue the pants off Tobu Railway.

    This is Japan remember, the best you'll probably get is a shoe lace, if that.

  • 1

    sakurala

    I would have thought that they would have taken this into account during the planning phase and ensured that there were enough defrosters around the building to prevent any build up. I wonder what other tall buildings in cold climates do in winter to ensure the safety of the public?

  • 0

    BertieWooster

    Brilliant planning! (Sarcasm)

  • 1

    BPoint

    Meh...the CN Tower in Toronto has been around for quite a few years. I don't think they've had anybody hurt.

  • 0

    gogogo

    Sounds like a design fault to me, it was obvious creating the world's largest tower that this would happen. I think someone needs to get fired and install some netting because no amount of security guards is going to stop a 5kg of ice from killing someone.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    gogogo: "Sounds like a design fault to me, it was obvious creating the world's largest tower..."

    It's not the world's tallest tower -- it's the world's tallest COMMUNICATION tower. And yes, obvious design flaw -- it sounds like they were more interested in rushing to get it up than on considering safety.

  • 1

    gogogo

    smithinjapan: Thanks for the correction, but let's get it 100% correct it is the "the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower" :)

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    Quote: BPointNov. 26, 2012 - 01:01PM JST "Meh...the CN Tower in Toronto has been around for quite a few years. I don't think they've had anybody hurt."

    Run a search on Toronto tower falling ice. It sounds like a mere matter of time.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Sounds like a design fault to me,

    Starting with the location, built in an urban area with a surrounding population of millions, sounds like they are going to have to take the damn thing down and start over again!

    Or how about buying out EVERYONE who lives in the potential danger zone.

    Some smart insurance company should be selling Tokyo Tower "Falling Ice Insurance".

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