A drilling machine perched atop the 70-metre-high Sadhu Bet in Narmada district has begun to flattened the hillock to prepare way for the laying of the Statue of Unity foundation.
According to engineers of the company contracted by the Gujarat government, L&T, working at the site, the hillock will be flattened to 60 metres after which the foundation stone of the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will be laid.
The engineering team working on the construction of the Statue of Unity has begun levelling the hillock Sadhu Bet, located at a distance of 3 kms from the Narmada dam. The hillock, which is mainly a quartzite rock, will bear the 52 meter deep foundation the statue, touted to the the world’s tallest at 182 metres.
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An engineer at the site said, “The machines are currently set up to begin slicing of the rock. We have begun by levelling its peak, cut to size by 10 metres from its current height. A temporary road has been forged for the machines to travel up to the rock, but we perceive this will be a difficult mode in the long run of the construction. So, a concrete bridge will be constructed to connect the river island, Sadhu Bet with the parallel road to allow construction materials to be ferried.”
The engineer said that the work is slated to begin in full speed as the geological survey of the site conducted in February has yielded positive results.
In February, a team of engineers of the consortium of Turner Construction, Michael Graves and Associates and the Meinhardt Group conducted the geological soil survey undertaken to ascertain the nature of the strata of the soil where the raft foundation of the statue will be constructed to ensure that the founding level of the surface has no anomalies that can be hazardous for the structure.
According to the data available with the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), for the raft foundation for the proposed monument the recommended safe bearing capacity is 2,300 KPa.
Although the area witnessed as many as four low intensity tremors in February, the site has been termed “safe” from the point of view of seismic hazard. The engineers confirm, however, that no blasting activity will be undertaken at the site during the construction. Instead, advanced slicing technologies will be used to shape the base so as to prevent any disturbance to the base of the hillock due to blasting.