NEW ORLEANS - In less than two weeks, what remains of the Palace Hotel will be completely demolished using explosives. (See map of impacted areas.) A 28-block area will have to evacuate for several hours.
It will take just eight to nine seconds for the hotel to collapse, state officials said.
On Thursday a two alarm fire broke out on the upper floors of the partly demolished hotel, forcing the closure of the interstate and surface streets around the hotel because of falling debris.
At the time, officials wondered whether damage caused by the fire could force them to change plans to implode what remains of the structure.
But now they say the explosive demolition will proceed as scheduled - at 8 a.m. on July 22.
On Tuesday morning, state and local officials laid out plans for a mandatory evacuation of several blocks around the hotel, and the closure of streets in the area:
- The interstate will close at 7 a.m. on July 22 and will not reopen until an inspection afterwards.
- Businesses in the affected are will be evacuated at 2 a.m. on July 22. Fire and police will search the buildings to make sure no one is inside.
- There will also be a mandatory evacuation for Bienville to Tulane and S. Villere to S. Johnson.
- Residents in the surrounding area must be evacuated by 7 p.m. on July 21.
The implosion will not only collapse what remains of the structure. It is also expected to raise a cloud of dust.
State officials have already circulated a map showing the areas expected to be impacted.