Sunday, June 16, 2024

2 years after quakes, Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral to be repaired

The Institute of Engineering at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) will work with a private restoration company to repair earthquake damage at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City.

Facing the central square in the capital’s historic center, the cathedral sustained serious damage in the two major earthquakes that rocked southern and central Mexico in September 2017.

The bell towers and some of the walls of the cathedral were affected by the twin quakes as was the facade of the side chapel known as the Sagrario Metropolitano. In addition, crosses that adorned the eastern tower of the cathedral broke off and three sculptures created by the Spanish architect and sculptor Manuel Tolsá were damaged.

Some minor repair and reinforcement work was carried out in late 2017 and 2018 but a major restoration project hasn’t yet been carried out for a range of reasons, among which was an administrative issue related to obtaining resources, according to Antonio Mondragón, a director of the Historic Monuments division of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

However, 54 million pesos (US $2.9 million) in funding is now available for the required restoration work and INAH will contract a company to collaborate with UNAM engineers in the first half of this year, Mondragón told the newspaper El Universal.

However, he conceded that the project might not actually begin for another year and estimated that the work itself could take “several more years.”

Mondragón said that specialists at the UNAM Institute of Engineering know the cathedral and the subsoil upon which it stands very well but explained that it is unable to carry out the restoration work on its own due to complex administrative and technical requirements.

“We need a company that can comply with contracts for large amounts [of money], with a consolidated technical and administrative team that can handle … such a big project,” he said.

Hundreds of historic buildings were damaged in the September 2017 earthquakes, which killed close to 500 people and rendered thousands homeless.

The federal government last year allocated 800 million pesos for the restoration of 279 important buildings in 10 states that were damaged either in the powerful 2017 quakes or the 7.2-magnitude temblor that caused damage in Oaxaca in February 2018.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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