Our last visit to Meskel site marked the commencement of the foundation works with a few remaining tasks on excavation and soil protection works. Since then, a significant amount of structural work has taken place. The second and final slab level is being casted. The 22,500sqm slab has been zoned into 10 working sections by taking advantage of non-structural joints and all forces are focused on making this grand public space ready for the 2013 Demera ceremony as the time unforgivably advances forward.
The project had introduced a new time and cost-efficient soil protection system called Soil Nailing which helped reduce a considerable amount of time during the excavation period. This technology, Soil Nailing is probably used here for the first time in the country. The technique is a rapid, economical and least destructive means of providing excavation support systems. Unlike the customary pile shoring system, soil nailing construction sequence begins with the excavation of a shallow cut, then shotcrete is applied to the face of the cut, and soil nails are drilled and grouted with concrete accordingly.
One section of the slab roughly about 3000sqm is being casted within a maximum of 7 to 10days including the form-work plank development. The props and formwork are being put in place as fast as an average of 1000sqm/day. All the formwork and props are prefabricated and made ready as per the shop drawing in China. Parallel works are facilitated by introducing a number of independent subcontractors with construction joints provided to avoid delayed transition between zones.
The plan is therefore to finish the prime Demera ritual area and an additional 250m buffer space surrounding it. In light of the recent global pandemic, the number of participants for this year’s ceremony is expected to be limited. The Church’s Betekihnet committee has also paid a visit to the site and is making its own preparation to work in conjunction with the consultant and contractor’s team towards a reasonable plan of action for the event.
The newly assigned deputy mayor has reportedly been rigorously following up on the status of the construction on a daily basis. The preparation for the 2013 Meskel festival is underway to serve limited attendees with the necessary safety measures and appropriate scenery furnishings.