NEW ORLEANS -- The construction of the University Medical Center in downtown moved forward early Sunday when the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans successfully imploded the Pallas Hotel, removing one of the last buildings remaining on the hospital site.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater said, “Today is a huge step forward for the University Medical Center hospital and health care in the New Orleans region. Thanks to coordination between the state and city, we successfully and safely imploded the Pallas Hotel, further clearing the way for a new hospital.”
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "Today's implosion of the Pallas Hotel is an important milestone in the development of the University Medical Center and the biomedical corridor. Though it lasted mere seconds, months of planning went in to making the implosion a reality. The success of the implosion would not have been possible without the hard work and cooperation of City and State first responders and homeland security personnel, the contractors, local utility companies, and nearby residents and businesses."
The implosion lasted fewer than 10 seconds and a series of carefully orchestrated charges were activated to bring down the structure on itself. The state selected implosion to remove the hotel because of it efficiency. Most of the debris is contained in the footprint of the former Pallas Hotel. Contractors will remove the debris over the course of the next several months, recycling what can be recycled.
The implosion was planned with State and City agencies for many months to ensure safety for the surrounding communities and work crews. Around 200 residents were evacuated from the area. The state housed 126 residents and six pets in hotels overnight. Another 14 residents of the Iberville Housing Development were bused out of the area during the implosion.
Once the all clear was given for citizens to return to the area, the state began assisting those residents it housed overnight in returning to their homes.
The state conducted air quality monitoring before, during and after the implosion. Tests showed the air quality was acceptable. The Department of Environmental Quality had previously inspected the hotel and given the project the all-clear to proceed.
Bridge inspectors from the Department of Transportation and Development surveyed Interstate 10, which was closed for the morning, and cleared the bridge to be opened. The Interstate is now reopened in both directions, after light dust was removed.
South Claiborne Avenue remains closed from Canal to Cleveland as crews work to remove debris from the area. South Claiborne bordered the site of the former hotel, and officials expected some debris would fall on South Claiborne.
The state has established a hotline for residents with questions or concerns about the implosion. It can be accessed this weekend on Sunday, July 22 from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling (855) 592-8146.