Companies will bid on the contract to reconstruct Notre Dame de Paris in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
It has been nearly two and a half years since a fire damaged Notre-Dame Cathedral, but officials say that it is now secure, and that rebuilding can officially begin. The race is no on to tackle the tremendous task in time for the 2024 Olympics.
The 29-month operation to secure the damaged cathedral was a major operation. Workers cleansed the area of dangerous toxic lead and installed large screens inside the building to catch debris. The job also required the disassembly of Notre Dame’s historic pipe organ, which will be restored off-site.
According to The Catholic Leader, safety precautions included installing a massive tarp that protects the damaged roof from rain, and fortifying the most damaged pillars of the nave. Special efforts were also taken to ensure no damage would come to the famed rose window in subsequent phases.
The most difficult part of the operation was removing burned and melted scaffolding that had been in place for a restoration job when the fire broke out. Now that wooden supports have been added to areas that were in the most danger, the next phase can begin.
The Guardian reports that French officials now say the structure is safe enough to begin reconstruction. The intention is to rebuild according to the previous design, so Notre Dame should eventually look just as it did before the April 2019 fire.
The effort will include recreating the iconic 96-meter spire to 19th-century specifications. The famed wooden roof, known as The Forest, will be remade from lumber sourced from French forests. Some 200 trees were felled for the project, which requires logs at the specific length of 26 meters.
The Guardian notes that before the restoration begins there will be a selection process to find the right construction companies. This will not be down-time for the restoration effort, however, as officials plan to start cleaning the church this month.
French President Emannuel Macron has vowed to reopen Notre Dame by the 2024 summer Olympics, held in Paris. Reports indicate that reconstruction is on track for this deadline. There is a possibility, however, that the effort will be slowed due to the world pandemic. Such delays also contributed to the lengthy safety phase of the work.