Hurricane-Toppled Crane in Halifax, Nova Scotia Now Is 'Local Emergency'
More than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian slammed into Nova Scotia at the end of a slow-moving and destructive journey through the Atlantic, the Canadian province is still digging out from a tower crane collapse in downtown Halifax and other damage caused by the powerful storm.
See video clip of the collapsing crane here.
Provincial officials on Sept. 23 announced the hiring of Harbourside Engineering Consultants, BMR Structural Engineering and R&D Crane Operator Ltd, and their subcontractors to secure and remove the heavily damaged crane that fell on and over a nearby private residential tower under construction, assess the collapse cause, and repair building damage.
Few details have been released on removal plans, but the firms will be indemnified by the government for their work, after the province on Sept. 18 called a "localized state of emergency" to take over and accelerate the takedown, assuming liability. The project developer claimed he had difficulty in gaining insurance coverage.
The removal of the crane, which lays draped over the multi-story residential tower and in the street, involves a multi-stage process that could take at least through September to complete.
Labour Minister Labi Kousoulis told Canadian media that the top part of the crane resting on the building weighs 67,000 lb.
The removal process begun over the weekend of Sept. 14 with crews putting in posts and shoring up each floor of the building to bolster its structural integrity as the crane is removed.
With that accomplished, work crews last week began to secure the crane to the half-built high-rise underneath to prevent further collapse as it is dismantled in sections.
No damage cost estimate has yet been released, said Chuck Porter, minister in charge of Nova Scotia’s emergency management department.
Nearby residents and business owners remain evacuated from the area.
Porter indicated other cranes in Halifax’s booming construction market managed to ride out the storm in tact.
While technically classified as a post-tropical cyclone by the time it reached Nova Scotia’s rocky coast, some of Dorian’s winds reached 100 mph, or equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane.
“The wind was blowing hard all the way,” Porter said. “It just covered the entire province. This is the kind of damage you get in a Cat 2. It was a big storm.”
Overall, the storm was the heaviest to hit Nova Scotia since Hurricane Juan ravaged the region in 2003, Porter said.
While Juan packed a stronger but narrower punch, Dorian swept across the region more broadly, knocking out power to 400,000 customers, or 80% of the total.
However, almost all power was restored a week and a half later, with more than 1,300 workers from power companies from across Canada and from as far away as Florida in Nova Scotia before the storm arrived, Porter said.
“There was just widespread assistance coming in,” Porter said, aided by hundreds of Canadian armed forces who restored infrastructure.
The storm washed out roads and damaged wharves and breakwaters, but the port of Halifax escaped serious damage, Porter said.