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Torch Cutting Steel

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I have a project where we are cutting off a portion of the bottom of a
steel tower to install
a taller bearing.  I am wondering what effect the torching will have on
the steel that remains.
Will the heat generated by torching have a detrimental effect?

Other engineers have suggested that during torching the only significant
heat generation
occurs when burning the initial hole.  Once the cut is initiated the
heat dissipates quickly.
Is this an accurate assessment?

What other options exist?  I heard of a method called air-arc'ing but am
unfamiliar with it.