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ST PAUL’S Cathedral has been wired for sound to ensure Metro Rail tunnel works don’t disrupt the peace and tranquillity inside the sacred church.
Cathedral dean Andreas Loewe has previously expressed concern about the effect of dust on the Cathedral’s precious organ from tunnelling works, and was also fretting about the impact of noisy truck movements on the place of prayer and peace.
Preliminary work on the $10.9 billion project will start next month with construction of the 9km-long twin tunnels running from Arden to Domain expected to start next year.
In a bid to allay the concerns of Anglican leaders, the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority has agreed to install a number of sound measuring devices inside the 19th century church to check for excessive noise and ground vibrations.
Artist's impression image of a shed that will be built to block noise from the construction of the Melbourne Metro rail runnel in Melbourne. Picture: Melbourne Metro Rail AuthorityDr Loewe said the church was taking every precaution to ensure the historic Cathedral was protected during the works.
“We don’t know what will happen when digging starts but we can be prepared,” Dr Loewe said.
“Metro has taken our concerns on board and they have just begun a noise study.
“The study is to see what the ambient level of noise is currently within the Cathedral and how we can benchmark that against the levels of noise when work starts”.
Dr Loewe said vibrations from underground tunnelling 30 metres below ground were another concern for the church.
“Vibrations in a building built out of stone create further soundwaves. It acts like an old-fashioned radio receiver, and that can dislocate stone in the most extreme scenarios,” he said.
“It can also dislocate dust and we have concerns over what would happen to our organ if it was filled with dust.
“We’re also doing a vibration study in the Cathedral just to ensure we have a benchmark level now and to make sure that level isn’t exceeded when work starts.
“We’re expecting the sound study to be completed soon.”
Dr Loewe said the MMRA had also agreed to use 3D laser survey technology to create a 3D model of the Cathedral.
“It effectively models every single stone within the building ... without them having to clamber up the building or put scaffolding in place,” he said.
MMRA spokesman Reid Sexton said that due to the unique characteristics of St Paul’s Cathedral, the tunnel project would use different technologies to record its current condition.
This would include baseline noise monitoring and creating a photographic record using drone technology with a high resolution camera and GPS capabilities.
“We’ll be using cutting-edge technology to monitor our works and protect buildings right along the project, including the historic St Paul’s Cathedral.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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