Friday, April 22, 2011

CTV Collapse, Cashel St / Madras St Crossing, Christchurch Quake

22.04.11. National State of Emergency, Christchurch. Cashel St / Madras St crossing saw the death of 115 people during the Feb 22, magnitude 6.3 earthquake. I'd walked & driven the crossing many times. All that survived the Feb 22 quake were Inland Revenue bldg on one corner & Holden Blackwells on the diagonally opposite corner. The latter was demolished.

Images, quake damaged Cashel St / Madras St crossing:


22.04.11. Inland Revenue bldg, Cashel St / Madras St crossing, red zone, national state of emergency.

St Paul's Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church on one corner of Cashel St / Madras St crossing was damaged in the Sept 4 quake, scaffolded before the Feb 22 quake & demolished post Feb 22 quake, leaving a foundation hole, foundation stones around the nave & apse, a pile of tangled scaffolding, stacked creamy drums from Oamaru limestone columns & roof beams for recycling.

On the diagonally opposite corner, the CTV bldg collapsed during the Feb 22 quake, the lift shaft stood burning while people were trapped.


22.04.11. Feb 22 quake destroyed CTV bldg, Cashel St / Madras St crossing, red zone, national state of emergency

On Good Friday, 22.04.11, I visited the CTV bldg for the first time post Feb 22 quake & was there at the exact time the CTV bldg had collapsed 2 months ago. CTV bldg remains were still behind red zone cordon fencing, stopping people approaching the demolition site. NZDF cordon soldiers & cops were elsewhere during the national state of emergency. Several witnesses were there - families, cyclists, walkers, photographers.

Demolishers had left the scorched CTV lift shaft, concrete rubble on a concrete slab, a heap of flowers & 2 bear toys on Cashel St / Madras St corner, & graffiti, including USAR / TF graffiti, on brick walls near the lift shaft.

The dead CTV bldg was soon completely demolished, leaving many unanswered questions why the CTV bldg collapsed? Later the Royal Commission of Inquiry would try to answer those questions.



22.04.11. Holden Blackwells car park view of Inland Revenue bldg left, Feb 22 quake damaged Hotel Grand Chancellor centre, CTV bldg right, Cashel St / Madras St crossing, red zone, national state of emergency. Hotel Grand Chancellor & Holden Blackwells were demolished

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26.04.11. Magnitude 4.1 aftershock, 10.07 pm, depth 8 km, within 5 km of Lyttelton (Geonet). It trembled fern leaves in our lounge, a sign the quake was mag 4 or more.

Coda: Fri 10.02.12. The Press reported the long awaited Dept of Building & Housing report on why the CTV bldg collapsed:

The report stated the CTV bldg collapsed due to horizontal shaking, CTV bldg not being up to building code / standard when built in 1986, that weak, brittle, non ductile, concrete columns collapsed, worsened by asymmetrical shear walls causing the bldg to twist while collapsing.

In other words CTV bldg was badly built, weak, with columns like raw spaghetti, which collapsed in a 6.3 mag quake. Shame on the architects, designers, Council consenters, engineers & builders. Excuses about massive vertical accelerations in the quake were expedient.

The challenge for Council & engineers in Christchurch & elsewhere in NZ, was to find similar quake prone bldgs pronto & make them safe, or demolish.

Later in 2012, the Royal Commission of Inquiry ascertained in great detail why the CTV bldg collapsed. Denialist engineers & the crooked construction manager were remiss. By 2015, neither CTV bldg owner, engineers, nor construction manager were held accountable for the CTV collapse.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See CTV building's flaws went unnoticed (The Press / Stuff Co).

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