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November 23, 2018

Leaning Tower of Pisa recovers 4cm and is in better structural health than predicted, engineers say

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As reported on ABC, after more than two decades of efforts to straighten it, engineers said the famed Tuscan bell tower has recovered four centimetres more and is in a better structural health than predicted.

Roberto Cela, from the Opea della Primaziale Pisana, an organisation responsible for maintenance of the square where the tower is located, explained how his team “positioned a series of pipes with drills which took away soil from the opposite side of the leaning side of the tower”.

“With the missing soil under its base, the tower has reacted by straightening up, recovering the tilt and thus rejuvenating after all the years that caused it to lean and to reach a critical position, which was becoming worrisome,” he said.

Mr Cela also explained how an additional steel cerclage was added to the tower on its lower level to keep the main two stone blocks together in order to stabilise the structure.

“Practically, we studied how the tower was built, which consists of two detached stone blocks,” he said.

The 12th-century tower reopened to the public in 2001 after being closed for more than a decade to let workers reduce its slant.

By using hundreds of tons of lead counterweights at the base and extracting soil from under the foundations, engineers initially shaved 43.1 centimetres off the lean.


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