Juarez evacuation planned for Asarco smokestacks’ demolition

By Lorena Figueroa \ El Paso Times

Juárez authorities plan to evacuate 2,600 people from two northwest neighborhoods the day the two Asarco smokestacks are brought down.

People living in the Ladrillera de Juárez and Franja Sara Lugo neighborhoods are expected to be out of their homes by 6 a.m. April 13 as a security measure, Director of Civil Protection Efrén Matamoros said Tuesday. Residents will be out of their homes for a few hours, officials said.

“We will also have a contingency plan that day in the area with the help of the local, state and federal police,” he said.

Matamoros said that residents will be officially advised about the demolition and the evacuation plan as soon as next week, after Juárez and El Paso authorities meet to take care of the final details and risks associated with bringing down the stacks.

Representatives from the local, state and federal Mexican governments, as well as Texas state officials, will participate in the meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday in El Paso, Asarco Site Custodial Trustee Roberto Puga said Friday.

He said trust officials dealing with remediation of the site have not recommended an evacuation on the Mexican side of the border. Officials have asked Juárez officials to temporarily close a road in Juárez that runs parallel to Paisano Drive.

On the U.S. side, officials do not plan an evacuation.

Puga said that about 20 families living in the Calavera neighborhood will be given the option of leaving their homes for a few hours April 13 or moving to a hotel during the weekend. The trust will pay for the hotel and meal expenses, he said.

“It will be just for their convenience,” he said.

Puga explained that Calavera neighbors and motorists won’t be able to use nearby roads the morning of the demolition, which is expected between 6:30 and 7.

An hour before the simultaneous demolition of Asarco’s 825-foot and 612-foot stacks, sections of Interstate 10 West and Paisano and Executive Boulevard will be closed. I-10 will reopen about 30 minutes to an hour after the demolition, and the streets three hours after the blasts.

Puga said that his team has worked to ensure a safe demolition of the stacks.

Lorena Figueroa may be reached at lfigueroa@elpasotimes.com; 546-6129.

Source: http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_22909106/stacks-fall-bring-evac-ju-225-rez