Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

Construction cranes on the Seattle skyline have become as commonplace as clouds. With a myriad of new mid-rises and skyscrapers sprouting up where once there were single-story buildings and parking lots, Seattle needs a lot of cranes. About 60 percent more cranes, in fact, than any other US city, according to a new semiannual count from Rider Levett Bucknall, a firm that tracks cranes around the world.

The last count found that Seattle had only six more cranes than the next-highest city, Chicago. Now it holds a massive 22-crane lead over second place Los Angeles, with Denver, Chicago and Portland just behind, reports the Seattle Times.

The construction boom is mainly a result of a demand for apartments needed to accommodate the flood of new residents pouring in, as the local economy continues to add jobs to the tech sector. According to the Downtown Seattle Association, 50 major projects are scheduled to begin construction just in the greater downtown region alone later this year.

Seattle still has fewer cranes than Toronto, which boasts a whopping 81, the most in North America. Companies that supply the cranes say there’s a shortage of both equipment and operators, so developers need to book the cranes and their operators several months in advance, reports the Seattle Times. It costs up to about $50,000 a month to rent one, and they can rise 600 feet into the air.

Seattle first earned the crane capital of the US designation a year ago, when it also had 58 cranes, and again in January, when the tally grew to 62. New construction shows no signs of stopping in Seattle.

For cranes, the sky’s the limit. We aren’t the birthplace of Frasier Crane for nothing!

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