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Demolition of Athlone cooling towers to go ahead

by City of Cape Town
on 19 Feb 2010
City of Cape Town
City of Cape Town

The City of Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Alderman Clive Justus, confirmed today that the Athlone cooling towers will be demolished as soon as possible. This follows damage to the site during the early hours of Sunday 14 February when stabilising rings around one of the towers fell to the ground. These rings had been fitted as an additional safety feature almost 20 years prior. Part of the N2 was temporarily closed while structural engineers assessed the damage and risk to passing traffic.

Alderman Justus says the City has since received a report from the consulting and structural engineers. "The report has been studied and it has been decided to proceed with the demolition of the two cooling towers as soon as possible", he said.

The report concludes that, although immediate collapse is unlikely, it is possible that one or both of the towers could collapse in high winds. It is thus strongly recommended that both towers be demolished before winter's North Westerly winds start to blow.

The Athlone Power Station was effectively shut down in 2002 and in 2006 a decision was taken to decommission the site. In 2009 a range of re-development options were put to the City's Utility Services Portfolio Committee and these options and uses are presently the subject of a public participation process.

The City has, however, accepted the recommendation to immediately proceed with the demolition process. The demolition will be commissioned through the City's Supply Chain Management Department in conjunction with the Electricity Department. Arrangements are being made for the water and electricity services located in the vicinity of the towers to be temporarily disconnected and protected during the demolition period.

Alderman Justus said that a detailed plan involving all Traffic and Emergency Services is being prepared, and surrounding roads including the N2 and Jan Smuts Drive are likely to be closed for a short period during the actual demolition. The Airports Company of South Africa will be consulted to decide upon a period of closure that will cause minimal disruption to traffic heading to and from the airport. The demolition is planned to be completed before the FIFA 2010 World Cup begins.

There is no doubt that there will be considerable interest from surrounding communities who will want to view the demolition of what are affectionately known as, 'The two ladies of Athlone'. Alderman Justus said that this will be permitted, but only from a safe distance. Further public information indicating safe viewing areas will be communicated in due course. The South African Police Services and the Metro Police will be on hand to ensure everyone's safety.

Further communication will follow once the demolition contractor has been appointed and has had time to undertake the initial planning for this project.

END

MEDIA RELEASE
NO. 120/ 2010
19 FEBRUARY 2010


ISSUED BY:
COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT
CITY OF CAPE TOWN


MEDIA QUERIES:
ALDERMAN CLIVE JUSTUS
MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: UTILITY SERVICES
TEL: 021 400 1206 CELL: 083 628 4136


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