Cape Town to Say Goodbye to Athlone Towers on Sunday 22 August 2010 | Western Cape Government


Cape Town to Say Goodbye to Athlone Towers on Sunday 22 August 2010

13 July 2010

After extensive consultation and planning, the two Athlone cooling towers are set to be demolished on Sunday 22 August 2010 at noon.

One of the towers (Tower 1) was deemed unsafe after its strengthening rings collapsed on 14 February this year. Two independent consultants recommended that both the towers be demolished as soon as possible, as Tower 1 may collapse in strong winds and the rings on Tower 2 might also collapse, which will place it in the same risk situation as Tower 1.

The City immediately appointed a consulting firm, Knight Piésold, to lead the demolition process. Jet Demolition was appointed in May to demolish the towers, said Alderman Clive Justus, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services.

The City's Disaster Risk Management team is monitoring the wind speeds on a daily basis and has a plan in place should the wind speeds become excessive.

It was decided this week that the towers will come down on Sunday 22 August, as this is a realistic date by which all safety measures can be in place and by when Jet Demolition indicated they will have all their preparation work for the demolition completed. The demolition is not weather dependent and can go ahead even if it rains on the day.

Various City Departments have worked together closely and have held numerous meetings since the appointment of the contractor to ensure the demolition will be safe for the public, the surrounding areas and City services.

All the required permits and approvals were obtained and the necessary site preparation is underway, with particular attention being given to the protection of existing services and safety of both the public and workers involved.

The City's Disaster Risk Management team compiled a comprehensive disaster risk management plan, which will be followed to ensure the City is prepared for any foreseen emergency that might occur during the demolition process. It will also ensure that the City will be able to act rapidly and effectively to any unexpected incidents that may occur during the demolition.

After consultation with Metrorail and both City and Provincial Traffic Services, it was decided to demolish the towers at 12:00 (noon) on the Sunday. As numerous roads in the area surrounding the towers, including the N2, will be closed for a few hours on the day, demolishing the towers at 12:00 on a Sunday will minimise traffic disruption as it makes provision for morning traffic volumes and afternoon weekend-ending traffic volumes. Metrorail will also need to close some train lines for a few hours on the day and indicated that closing their lines at noon will cause the least inconvenience to their Sunday customers. Demolishing the towers on a Sunday will also give the public the opportunity to witness the historic event.

The City's disaster risk management plan makes provision for all the necessary traffic and safety arrangements for the day of the demolition. More detail on the traffic management plan for the day will be communicated to the public closer to the demolition day.

Between now and 22 August, the contractor will secure and protect existing services and drill over 3 000 holes per tower into which the explosive charges will be placed. Even though it was not required by law to prepare an Environmental Management Plan, the consultants still compiled such a plan to ensure the safety of the public and the surrounding environment.

New nests have already been placed on the building next to the tower to accommodate the pair of falcons that have been resident on the cooling towers since the 1980's. The birds have already started showing an interest in their new homes.

"Whilst it will be sad to lose the 'two old ladies of Athlone', they have served their purpose and have come to the end of their useful lives. The eventual re-use of the site in terms of a process for which a final decision has yet to be taken, will soften this loss and allow the power station site to be redeveloped in full, to the benefit of the whole area," Alderman Justus said.

Issued by:
Communication Department
City of Cape Town

Media Enquiries: 

Alderman Clive Justus
Mayoral Committee Member
Utility Services
Tel: 021 400 1206
Cell: 083 628 4136