Friday, August 16, 2013

Demolition of quake-damaged lift shaft begins - TVNZ

Published: 1:06PM Saturday August 17, 2013 Source: ONE News

Work to remove a nine-storey lift shaft attached to Wellington's James Smith car-parking building has begun today.

The building was closed after it was damaged in July's 6.5 magnitude quake and the lift shaft was braced.

After yesterday's 6.6 earthquake, which hit near Seddon at 2.31pm at a depth of 8km, the shaft sustained more damage and the decision was made to remove it.

"Now we think there's a risk of it coming down and potentially damaging the buildings around it," said Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.

The metal frame at the top of the shaft is being removed today using two cranes, and work will continue tomorrow to remove the rest of the tower.

A larger crane that can carry up to 60 tonnes is on its way up from Christchurch and will be used to remove a large concrete section underneath the metal frame that is estimated to weigh around 30 tonnes.

The crane is expected to arrive in Wellington by midday tomorrow.

Removing the lift shaft will take several days, said Wellington City Council's chief operating officer Greg Orchard.

"It's a very complex operation. We're going to have to bring it down piece by piece," he said.

The demolition process is dangerous because the shaft was still partially attached to the building, he added.

"Certainly in an aftershock you'd want to get out of here."

The building has been cordoned off and it has been classified as dangerous.

Wellington resident Jared Laing said he saw the shaft swaying back and forth during yesterday's big quake.

"I could see it visibly moving from our house, and our house is probably nearly a kilometre away," he said.

"It looked like it was going to come down by itself. If they've strengthened it, it doesn't seem to have done much."

Residents from nearby buildings have been evacuated and Mr Orchard said they would not be allowed back into the area before Monday.

Council staff will meet with them tomorrow to discuss the situation.

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