Cape Town’s landmark Athlone cooling towers are no more. The towers, referred by many as the “Athlone towers” or “The 2 ladies of Athlone” were demolished at 11:56 AM yesterday (4 minutes before the scheduled time). The demolition company used high-speed cameras to capture the blast from all angles in order to assess the success of each implosion but the cameras were not as effective in the wet Cape Town weather and they decided to detonate the charges before a heavy downpour.
The 10-second implosion of the 2 concrete structures was witnessed by thousands, despite wind and rain. The one tower imploded faster than the other, leaving a cloud of dust and a new landscape to the residents of Cape Town. After the blast major road networks were closed until 13:00 (which left many people stuck in traffic after leaving the main viewing area at Pinelands Sports club).
The two cooling towers formed a landmark on the N2 freeway into the Cape Town city center and were fed by reclaimed water from a nearby sewage plant. The lifespan of the towers was extended in 1993 through the addition of reinforcing bands, but in February 2010, the bands on of the towers collapsed. The cooling towers and the power station (which were erected in the 1960s) were taken out of production in 2002 and decommissioned completely in 2006. There was no real reason to keep the cooling towers.
This video of the demolition was posted on Zimeo:
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