Etisalat to remove damaged sphere on Abu Dhabi headquarters

The Abu Dhabi team of the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority asked the company to contain the damage and dismantle the structure.

ABU DHABI // Emergency authorities have asked Etisalat to dismantle the spherical structure on its headquarters after it was damaged in this week’s storm.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority instructed the company to “provide engineering and technical solutions to contain the damage and dismantle the spherical structure”.

Strong winds that reached 126kph in capital during Wednesday’s storm left the structure damaged, with cracks visible along its base. The area around the building and nearby intersection had been cordoned off since Wednesday.

The emergency team, headed by Maj Gen Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, commander-in-chief of Abu Dhabi Police, is continuing to coordinate with Etisalat, holding technical and engineering meetings with Etisalat, contracting companies and consultants.

The team urged the public to follow special instructions for using the roads leading to the main Etisalat building “until the completion of the risk assessment on these roads before opening them again to the public”.

The building is located at the intersection of Zayed the First Street and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street (Airport Road). The Abu Dhabi Traffic Department had said on Twitter yesterday that partial road closures at the intersection had caused heavy delays.

On Friday night, the authority said that emergency teams had taken measures to reduce the risk posed by the structure, and that some of the roads had been opened.

Roads were opened to motorists arriving from Al Khalidiyah on Zayed the First (Electra) Street, and some exits from Corniche Road towards Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street were opened.

The side roads around the building will remain closed until issues with the structure are addressed.

Meanwhile, authorities continued clean-up efforts following the storm, which left streets flooded, buildings damaged and trees uprooted.

Al Ain Municipality said on Twitter on Friday that it had handled 917 incident reports in the storm aftermath, including 50 reports of fallen trees, while crews continued to clean up accumulated sand on city streets.