Hard Rock crane demolition delayed until Saturday

Elias Hubbard
October 21, 2019

On Sunday morning, officials closed off streets in the evacuation area and other places nearby that could be affected by the implosion.

Experts, including engineers who worked on demolitions following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, were called in to try to come up with a plan to clear the site and prevent further injury and damage before the cranes fell on their own. One of the crane towers is about 270 feet (82 meters) high, the other about 300 feet (91 meters).

Workers in a bucket begin the process of planting explosive charges on two unstable cranes at the Hard Rock Hotel, which underwent a partial, major collapse Saturday, Oct. 12, in New Orleans, viewed Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019.

The planned implosion was set to take place sometime after 1 p.m. but was delayed well into the afternoon as officials conducted last-minute safety checks and made sure no one had sneaked into the hotel.

The Hard Rock Hotel under construction at the corner of Canal and Rampart Streets at the edge of the historic French Quarter partially collapsed October 12, killing three workers.

Cantrell cited the collapsed building and the coming storm in declaring a state of emergency Thursday that empowers police to "commandeer or utilize any private property", force people out of risky areas and suspend the sale or transport of alcohol and firearms, among other measures.

Saturday evening's Krewe of Boo event downtown, the city's official Halloween parade, had been canceled because of the expected demotion, but now it's back on. Cantrell also said she would not authorize the use of explosives during the night.

Cantrell said Friday she attended the funeral this afternoon of Anthony Magrette, 49, whose body was removed from the site on Sunday. Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a state of emergency for the city due to the storm.

The demolition was then rescheduled for Saturday but the experts discovered the cranes were more damaged than previously thought.

This is a developing story. The mayor said three windows at the historic Saenger Theater across the street were damaged but they hadn't received reports of other buildings damaged.

It's all part of a larger plan to secure the area which has been deemed unsafe for almost a week since it originally collapsed. There were more than 100 construction workers on site at the time, according to one of the construction companies.

Officials are sending out warnings to residents and business owners about the plan. They were to weaken the damaged construction towers with blow torches and attach explosives at key points.

That kind of damage would take a long time to fix.

WWL reports the video was posted by Randy Gaspard, a New Orleans-area concrete contractor.

"Look, Papo, 'the best engineering!' Look at these large stretches (between supports) and s**t beams!"

"Winds pick up too high - and obviously they're much higher at those elevations - it slows us down", he said.

Gaspard said he was told workers had been removing the temporary posts. Workers are going door to door to tell people what they need to do and will give residents four hours' notice before the explosions begin, officials said. The collapse killed three workers.

"As they got up and got closer they found out some things about it that have changed the way they are going to take it down. and that's going to take a little longer for them to accomplish", he said at a news conference.

Services such as electricity, gas, water, and sewer also were shut off in the evacuation zone.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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