Demolition
The explosion that razed the four towers of Mina Zayed to the ground on Friday morning Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: As many as 144 floors of the iconic Mina Plaza, comprising four, 165 metre-high towers in the Mina Zayed area of Abu Dhabi, were successfully demolished in a record 10 seconds on Friday morning. The exercise earnt Modon Properties, the master developer commissioned to do the task, a new Guinness World Records title for the tallest building demolished using explosives.

A loud blast at 8 am changed the skyline of the capital as the four towers were torn down by 6,000 kg of explosives. The controlled implosion, which lasted 10 seconds, will pave the way for the redevelopment of the three million square-metre port area which is set to become a major tourist destination.

How the towers were brought down
The towers were demolished through "controlled implosion using stable non-primary explosives with an excellent safety record" Image Credit: Supplied

The announcement of the demolition was made soon after the explosion by Abu Dhabi Media Office and Abu Dhabi’s municipal regulator, the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), which had commissioned master developer Modon to bring the towers down. The demolition earnt Modon a new Guinness World Records title for the "tallest building demolished using explosives".

“As part of the second phase of the revitalisation of the Mina Zayed area in Abu Dhabi, Modon Properties has successfully demolished Mina Plaza Towers in 10 seconds,” the announcement said, adding that rigorous safety measures were taken to mitigate the effects of the demolition and control resulting dust clouds.

Post-blowdown inspections

Shops and markets in the port area were closed temporarily on Thursday evening and will continue to remain closed till 4pm on Friday. Bill Oregan, Modon chief executive officer, told Gulf News a post-blowdown inspection is currently being undertaken.

“This involves checking that all the explosives have detonated, that the structure has fallen exactly where planned, and that there is no debris outside the project boundaries. We will also check that all the dust has settled, and that there has been no impact on adjacent utilities,” Oregan said.

Safe explosion

The demolition had been accomplished with the use of plastic explosives and detonator cord, which was blown up with the use of 18,000 individually programmed detonators.

Reps
Key representatives of the different entities involved in the demolition of the towers Image Credit: Supplied

“The reason we had chosen the plastic explosives is because they are extremely safe, and could only be exploded through specific electric signals. These explosives had also been in the custody of the Civil Defence and Abu Dhabi Police since they had arrived in the ͵羺,” Oregan said.

He added that an offshore wind had blown away much of the dust already.

“Our modelling had looked into the different scenarios in which dust would be cleared, and an offshore wind was the most favourable of them,” Oregan said.

Joint exercise

Modon carried out the demolition exercise in coordination with Abu Dhabi Police, emergency response teams, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority, National Ambulance and Emergency Crises and Disasters Management Centre in Abu Dhabi.

According to Modon the demolition was carried out in partnership with a leading demolition company with the highest international safety measures in place.

Modon said to ensure the safety of all residents, businesses, workers and the general public, several measures were undertaken by DMT such as advertising campaigns, media tools like press releases, articles, SMSs, posters and awareness leaflets distributed in stores at the vegetable and fruit market, Abu Dhabi slaughterhouse, plant market and fish market.

COVID-19 tests

The Mina Zayed area was evacuated with the help of Abu Dhabi Police. Tamouh Healthcare conducted COVID-19 tests for 750 workers who were moved to a temporary housing facility in Al Mafraq Worker City. These workers will return once the roads are reopened, the company noted.

Abu Dhabi Police facilitated various aspects of the demolition including enhanced security. Necessary measures were taken by the police to secure the demolition site with traffic patrols, ensuring the flow of traffic in the areas adjacent to the site and proper road diversions. The Abu Dhabi Civil Defence Authority supported by securing the site in accordance with safety and prevention requirements including evacuating the area around the towers and providing ambulances, emergency, fire and rescue vehicles.

With the support of the demolition committee, a comprehensive field security plan was developed to implement the demolition process. This focused on the status of the site’s infrastructure of government, commercial and residential buildings, and direct supervision of the evacuation of neighbouring areas, ensuring it was isolated before the demolition process.

The media committee comprised the Security Media Department in the Command Affairs Sector of Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Media Office, Department of Municipalities and Transport,and Modon Properties. The committee worked according to the Abu Dhabi Police media response plan to manage media and inform them, residents, store owners and marketgoers of the event. They worked to raise awareness about the precautionary measures to be followed, supported with documenting the event and distributing informational material across various channels.

Redevelopment plans

Following the demolition, stores in the area that make up the fish market, the fruit and vegetable souk, the carpet souk and the plant souk will be able to resume operations in the late afternoon. These markets, adjoining the unfinished Meena Plaza, will continue to operate even as work begins on the third phase of redevelopment for Mina Zayed.

The redevelopment will set up new structures to house the existing stores, as well as make way for new shops for the sale of antiques and books. Oregan said the area will continue to be a vibrant hub for trade, much as it has been since its establishment in 1972.

Sustainability

Mina Zayed has been a bargain hunter’s dream over the years. Some store owners have expressed concerns that the redevelopment would drive up rents and make operating in the area unsustainable.

“The DMT manages the current markets, and new markets will similarly be handed over to them,” Oregan said, explaining how operations would be kept sustainable.

In addition to retail space and food and beverage options in the redeveloped port area, a set of prime plots will be set up by master developer Aldar.