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Canal Street Reopens Again After 2019’s Hard Rock Hotel Collapse

On the 12th of October 2019, the hard rock hotel which was under construction collapsed. The reason was not far from the poor structural integrity of the building and its lack of proper safety measures. Prior to the collapse of the building, workers have been noted to lack several complaints about the building, questioning the provision of proper health and safety measures, with some even going as far as making videos of the building. Days after one of the famous videos where a worker was heard saying “It’s going to break. Look at this one” when pointing at a steel pole, the building collapsed, killing 3 workers.

Ever since then, the intersection of the canal and north rampart street, which is a major intersection in New Orleans has been closed for up to 18 months now, so as to allow workers to carry out a full demolition of the building and also protect residents of the area from any form of hazard as the building was in a very delicate position of harming more lives. This closure has affected not just the swift movement of residents, but also buildings around the collapsed hard rock hotel which were pulled down during the demolition process of the collapsed café. Stores and restaurants around the area were also affected as their businesses were put at a stop due to the inability of the customers to access the area.

The demolition and clearance of the debris took a longer time, due to a short argument between the Mayor and the developers on how to clear the debris. In the long run, the time taking clearance of the debris piece by piece was selected over the use of explosives.

Since the clearance, the reopening of the road has been done stage by stage, around the second week of April, one lane of the lake-bound traffic was reopened, following the removals of barricades of river-bound lanes of the canal late last year. The next street to be reopened for residents is Rampart and Iberville street, which looks to be the most affected by the demolition process. Officials are expecting that the road will be reopened by the end of May when debris must have been fully cleared and roads repaired from the damage experienced during the demolition.

Other reopening plans for the area include the reopening of the streetcars that run the canal-rampart intersection. According to the transit authority, the reopening will take some time as the streetcars need to be repaired and reconnected.

The owners, developers, and contractors of the hard rock hotel have ever since been embroiled in series of court cases. The 12 companies involved in the building have already paid up to $315,356 in penalties to the authorities, which is meager compared to the $11.6 million the collapse has cost the city. Two building inspectors, Eric Treadaway and Julie Tweeter have also been fired by the authorities who had found to take part in falsifying their inspection review on the structural integrity of the building, even though they never visited the building.