CMRL has commissioned precision equipment to ensure that the neighbouring heritage structure is safe

In what seemed like an effort to avoid further damage to the heritage structure of P. Orr & Sons, the Chennai Metro Rail on Sunday night commissioned precision equipment, including a demolition digger to bring down the remnants of the collapsed structure of Ambassador Lodge.

The operation started rather late in the evening, taking onlookers by surprise.

A few of them gathered around the site at 10.30 p.m. and saw the jaw crusher effortlessly nibble the crown of the skeletal remains of the collapsed building, right next to the heritage structure.

M. Udayakumar, project manager supervising the demolition at the spot, said: “The CMRL has sought our services to bring down the building without any damage to the adjoining heritage building.

This advanced machine can demolish up to1,000 sq ft of Reinforced Cement Concrete structure in an hour without causing vibrations around the area.”

“Powerful percussion hammers are not used as they can damage the nearby building. CMRL has asked us to demolish only the building that housed surgical shops, sports goods shops and the Ambassador Lodge tonight,” he added.

Every swing of the jaw crusher brought small bits of the old building down, even as the neighbouring P. Orr & Sons building stood tall in the yellow beams against the calm night sky.

Workers at the site said the crushing speed of the machine was considerably reduced as they were aware that the nearby building is a heritage structure.

Eventful week

The last week has been eventful for this stretch along Anna Salai.

The skeletal structure of Ambassador Lodge suddenly came crashing on Thursday afternoon, damaging a few cars parked in the area.

Soon after, following a petition from INTACH to restrain authorities from demolishing, modifying or altering any part of the heritage structure, the Chennai Metro Rail on Friday assured the Madras High Court that it would not touch the portion of the P. Orr & Sons on Anna Salai which has been declared a heritage structure .

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012