Contractors prepare for demolition of NOLA's partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel
NEW ORLEANS - After months of delays, demolition contractors appear to be laying the groundwork for the demolition of the partially collapsed Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans.
According to WWL-TV, on Thursday afternoon there was little movement at the site, but critical work is being done behind the scenes and at other locations.
“This is called the mobilization phase,” said UNO engineering professor Norma Jean Mattei. “The contractor is mobilizing. He's getting all of his equipment in place.”
Large wooden planks, known as cribbing, are being placed across Rampart and Canal streets in preparation to bring in more heavy equipment. The cribbing work appeared to be almost finished late Thursday.
Mattei says the cribbing will soon support massive cranes and other large pieces of machinery.
“So what you do is you put down these massive timbers that spreads the load out so the street can safely carry that load,” Mattei said. “The cranes are a massive payload, and they will be used to bring down massive payloads as they start to bring down pieces of the building.”
In order to bring down the main structure, the city granted Hard Rock developer, 1031 Canal, and main demolition contractor, Kolb Grading, emergency approval to tear down three buildings adjacent to the hotel.
The Old Post Office on Iberville was demolished last week. Two buildings on Canal, the former Alamo Theater and a smaller next to it, are scheduled to come down next.
Once those buildings are leveled, activity should start on bringing down the Hard Rock's upper floors, Mattei said.
“I think we'll see some of those pancaked section, on the Rampart side, probably start to come down first,” she said. “They really want to get those pieces that are not stable.”
It's likely that the first unsteady piece of the wreckage to come down will be the remnants of the tower crane that hangs over the sidewalk on Canal. The crane was partially brought down by dynamite in November.
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