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First people to enter Christ Church Cathedral since 2011 quake

Author
Star News,
Publish Date
Thu, 18 Aug 2022, 8:26am
Walking up the Cathedral with the front doors in the background. Photo / Tom Cuthbert
Walking up the Cathedral with the front doors in the background. Photo / Tom Cuthbert

First people to enter Christ Church Cathedral since 2011 quake

Author
Star News,
Publish Date
Thu, 18 Aug 2022, 8:26am

The first humans to enter Christ Church Cathedral since search and rescue teams went in after the 2011 earthquake have captured their experience on camera.

The highly controlled entry was made through the northern side of the building by a Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement site manager and senior engineer.

This first inspection was undertaken to check for engineering or safety concerns that need to be addressed before contractors can begin work inside the Nave to stabilise the existing columns.

Project director Keith Paterson said: "We felt confident in taking this next crucial step forward in the reinstatement journey.

The piano sits covered in dust and rubble inside the Cathedral. Photo / Tom Cuthbert

The piano sits covered in dust and rubble inside the Cathedral. Photo / Tom Cuthbert

"This entry allows us to plan and create a scope of work for the final stage of the stabilisation. The installation of the external steel supports has adequately mitigated any risk of collapse. This is a significant and exciting moment for the project and stabilisation phase, which is now about 90 per cent complete."

The workers were inside for only 10 minutes, which was enough time to properly assess the risks and carry out the investigation into further stabilisation.

"We were very happy with what we saw inside the cathedral. There were no surprises, and in fact, some of the columns we inspected were in better condition than assumed. We can now confidently move forward and prepare the work plan for the next step in the project," said Keith.

Prior to this human entry, Spot, the remote-controlled robot dog, drones and the remote-controlled digger, were the only technologies to have entered the quake-damaged Cathedral.

"Human access marks a massive goal for the project since reinstatement commenced in May 2020, and was a key focus for the project this year.

"The early completion of the remote-controlled digger's internal clean-up has been a tentative step towards allowing controlled human access."

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