The first work of securing the building, which is exposed to rain, should begin by the end of October …
On June 15, the roof of St. Donatien basilica was destroyed by fire. Since this accidental fire, which greatly marked the Nantais, the weakened building, still remains exposed to the weather. And it will have to wait almost a month before the first safety work.
“The choice of provider is now underway. Then there will be site preparation. The operational phase is expected to begin by the end of October, “said Olivier Château, deputy Mayor of Nantes in charge of heritage.
Objective: To set the record dry in January
This first stage of the re-construction will be to dispose of all the materials that remain balanced on the roofs and brace the side gables of the building to give it some strength in case of strong wind. These operations will require the use of a 250 ton crane. The second step will be then to make sure the building is water proof which will involve a large umbrella-like structure above the basilica. The goal is that in January the basilica is finally protected from rain. We do not want it to fall behind because it is necessary that the basilica is protected for the winter period, “adds Olivier Château.
“No degradation detected” after the last rains
The third phase, scheduled to last ten months, will involve shoring inside the vault and safe development of the great organ. It is only then that could be considered the final restoration of the roof, in 2017 at the earliest, then that of the reopening. Until then, religious services are carried over to the Saint-François-de-Sales church.
The basilica was put under daily monitoring since August and early September because of sensitive weather (rain, wind). “After inspections, there has not been found any further deterioration since the rain and wind” said Olivier Château. “But the building remains fragile.”