Milad Tower

City Councilor: Milad Tower risks tilting

Financial Tribune- A member of the Tehran City Council has said Tehran’s iconic Milad Tower risks tilting as a result of an abandoned excavation site near the tower.

The pit is a construction site for Milad Project Phase II, which includes a world trade center, a five-star twin tower hotel, a commercial complex and a parking lot for 5,000 cars, which were to be constructed next to the iconic Milad Tower in northwest Tehran.

After selecting the design for the second phase of project in 2012, the project contractor, Mehrafarin Company, started excavation operations to prepare the land for the construction.

The TCC was opposed to the plan with many councilors arguing that Milad Tower’s distinguished view of the capital’s landscape would be marred by the proposed skyscrapers.

Despite the protests, Tehran Municipality allowed work on the project to continue before necessary permits were acquired. The municipality also transferred 49% of stake in project to the Iranian Police. Later the project was suspended, presumably by the city council.

“Now nobody accepts the responsibility of filling of the abandoned pit next to the tower,” Mohammad Mehdi Tondgouyan, a member of the Architecture and Urban Planning Commission at the Tehran City Council, was quoted by ISNA as saying.

“While the contractor has used ‘soil nailing’ techniques to ensure that the excavations don’t harm adjacent buildings, the short-term technique is only effective for up to four years,” he stressed.

Soil nailing is a technique in which excavations or retaining walls are reinforced by inserting slender steel bars. A rigid or flexible facing (often sprayed concrete) may be used at the surface.

Tondgouyan said that TCC has warned TM several times about the hazards of the abandoned pit.

“Disregard for the problem and failure to take measures to address it will be seen as a violation,” he added.

Abandoned Pits

Around 150 excavated and abandoned pits have been identified in Tehran city which pose a grave risk to pedestrians, vehicles and neighboring buildings alike. Most of the large numbers of excavated sites are in the upscale northern parts of the capital where there is a surge in construction activity in recent years.

Some of the pits are said to be more than 20 meters deep.

Due to the time taken to grant permits for construction of commercial and residential buildings, the Tehran Municipality has taken a short-cut by issuing excavation permits to builders prior to obtaining construction permits. The move was to facilitate and accelerate the projects once the construction permits are issued.

But critics say the TM wants to earn easy money without considering the negative consequences of such measures that in the past led to human casualties.

In many cases construction license is denied after the permit for the digs are issued and thus a lot of pits are abandoned without being filled by the property owners or project contractors.