City of Ballarat’s director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo has told The Courier a broken cable had a part to play in a newly installed palm tree falling down on the Civic Hall building site on Friday afternoon.
But an investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
“The tree that has fallen was secured by a ground anchoring system, which we had imported from the UK and a cable has broken within that ground anchoring system,” Mr Demeo said.
“I haven’t gotten to the bottom of why that is yet, we will have a structural engineer review it and we are waiting on a report on that.”
He said Saturday was spent re-erecting the tree that fell down and further securing the two standing trees with the process completed in the late afternoon.
Three Acrow Props, which are a building construction prop used to support formwork, walls, ceilings and overhead structures, are supporting each tree temporarily while their roots embed into the soil. The trees are also being secured by cable ties.
“Cables have been put into the ground at about a seven metre height on the tree, on each of the trees there is three or four cable ties and they will stay there in the longer term,” Mr Demeo said.
“I imagine the Acrow Props (will be in use) for four to six weeks and then the cable ties for a few months after that.”
There will be some clean up work at the site on Monday.
UPDATE SATURDAY, 9.15AM
Traffic is being diverted as the three new palm trees are secured into place at the Civic Hall building site after one came crashing down on Friday afternoon.
The road is closed for incoming traffic on Doveton Street North from the roundabout until Mair Street as workers stabalise the trees.
All three palm trees are now standing upright with the tree being replanted attached to a crane and two braced into position with supports.
Cranes and excavators are currently on site.
UPDATE FRIDAY, 5.30PM
City of Ballarat’s director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo has told The Courier workers are currently onsite at Civic Hall, doing forensic investigations on why the palm tree fell earlier this afternoon.
Mr Demeo said "all went to plan” when the trees were put in the ground, and they had been inspected across Thursday and Friday to confirm there was “no movement at all”.
The largest tree of the three planted along Creswick Road fell at 3.50pm.
“I don’t have an explanation at this point,” he said.
Mr Demeo said the trees had been erected with “state of the art” ground anchors initially securing the three palm trees planted on Thursday.
He said the intent was to have preliminary works to get the tree back up tonight, with works to be complete by 6am on Saturday morning.
“We’ll use Acrow Props to further secure it, it’s a belt and braces-type solution to ensure there’s no repeat.”
He said ongoing investigations would also assess the other two trees planted on Thursday and they may be additionally braced.
He confirmed no-one was hurt the tree fall, but Worksafe officers had been notified and were en route to Civic Hall.
ONE of the three new palm trees planted one day ago at the Civic Hall building site has fallen, narrowly missing workers at the site.
The tree fell just before 4pm, 20 minutes after contractors working at the site had vacated a trench underneath where the tree has fallen.
The Courier understands contractors were inside the Civic Hall building at the time having a meeting. One worker on the site said they heard a “fair thump” when the tree went down.
The contractor said it was sheer luck that those working underneath the tree had left the site moments before.
Had the tree fallen in the opposite direction, it would have fallen across Creswick Road and potentially disrupted traffic.
Concerns are now for the stability of the other two trees.
Passersby earlier reported to The Courier they thought one of the trees was “on a lean”. The tree that has fallen was the one pedestrians were concerned about.
According to City of Ballarat, each of the trees have a market value of $40,000, and were relocated from the former Echuca Secondary College. City of Ballarat stated they did not have to pay any costs for the palm trees, and shared ‘minimal’ relocation costs with the Major Roads Project Authority.
It is understood City of Ballarat have been advised, with workers en route to brace the two other trees.
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