The tower’s tilt of about four metres off the vertical has remained stable in recent years, after a big engineering project that ended in 2001 corrected its lean by about 40 centimetres from where it was in 1990 when the project began.
“Now we can say that the tower can rest easy for at least 300 years,” Jamiolkowski told the paper in an article published on Wednesday. The tower was shut to visitors for almost 12 years from 1990 — when it was sinking about a millimetre a year — and reopened in December, 2001 at the end of the biggest phase of the consolidation and restoration project.
The 14,000-tonne free-standing bell tower, an internationally recognised architectural symbol of Italy along with Rome’s Colosseum, was built in several stages between 1174 and 1370. During the stabilisation phase of the project which ended in 2001 the structure was anchored to cables while cement was injected to relieve pressure on the ground. The lean of the tower is now considered safe and is about what it was in 1700.
Restorers are now using a specially-designed, light-weight scaffolding made of an aluminium alloy as a base from which to clean the tower’s white and grey marble. Officials have said over the years that they have no intention of straightening the tower, which would detract from its unique status and tourist draw, meldt Reuters.
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