We here at Construction Junkie headquarters enjoy a good demolition video. We’ve shared implosion videos, timelapse videos, and even demolition fails, but since our inception, we have yet to share a wrecking ball demolition video. Growing up, I thought my adult life was going to be littered with wrecking balls (and anvils, for that matter), because of all the cartoons I watched, but as our industry’s heavy machinery and explosives have become more precise, the need for wrecking balls has slowly diminished.
BUT FEAR NOT, that all ends today, thanks to the city of Bath, Maine. The Route 1 viaduct, which has stood in Bath for about 59 years, has seen its final days and is in process of being torn down. It spans over 1,300 feet in total overtop of local Bath streets, carrying an average of 30,000 vehicles per day. Much to the chagrin of the residents who use the bridge or live near it, it will take nearly 8 months to tear the existing bridge down and replace it with the new one. That means 8 months of bad traffic and tons of noise. Officially, work began in May of 2016, but the viaduct remained open until October.
According to WSCH 6, the original bridge took 720 days to build, but contractors will only have 220 days to completely replace it. That’s a significant improvement but many DOTs around the country and cities around the world are embracing more pre-fabricated designs to greatly reduce the impact to traffic and local business. For instance, the Connecticut DOT found a way to reduce a 2 year bridge replacement down to 28 days of traffic interruption. That’s something I think we can all get behind, as working more offsite keeps workers much safer.
On Tuesday night, another portion of Route 1 was taken down by our old friend, the wrecking ball. In a video shared to Facebook by the Bath Police Department, you can see three powerful strikes to the already weakened section. I would hate to live near this area, but I love watching the video.
A nearby office worker caught video of a dramatic demolition that showed the remains of an 11 story building collapse on top of the excavator performing the demolition.
In order to get the bad taste of last week’s botched demolition, in which an adjacent building also got destroyed in the process, we needed to share a highly successful one. Priestly Demolition, a Canadian demolition contractor, has been the subject of our articles in the past and the company has even won awards for the best demolition in the world.
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
Construction Junkie has shared a lot of demolition videos. Typically, people line up waiting for the moment when the building explodes with their eyes peeled and cameras ready, just waiting for the perfect video. This video, however, is much different.
Early this year, a landslide caused catastrophic failure to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along California’s famous Highway 1. California Transit officials closed the bridge on February 21st and announced it would be demolished and replaced. Time is of the essence as US News reports that over 400 residents are stranded on one side of the bridge and helicopters have had to bring in food for them. The residents are still able to use the footpaths in the area to cross the canyon.
There’s no doubt that bridge demolitions by implosion are extremely fun to watch, but the fireworks show and big splash into the water below can sometimes overshadow other demolition projects that don’t allow implosion. Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) recently won two 2016 World Demolition Awards for one of those projects where implosion was not an option and they have also produced an incredibly detailed video of how they did it.
Since Construction Junkie was conceived in 2015, we’ve seen a lot of construction equipment flip for some really stupid reasons. Like this crane, this other crane, and this third crane dropping a bulldozer. Those are just some of the ones caught on video and they should be enough to convince you not to go out of your way to do dangerous things with a crane.
Rowlett, Texas was hit hard by a tornado in 2015 and the city is still dealing with the effects of it. In the horrible storm, 13 people were killed and over 400 buildings were damaged or destroyed, according to CBS DFW. In a story we covered last year, one Rowlett woman also had her house mistakenly knocked down by a demolition company when addresses got mixed up after the tornado.
We saw some pretty awesome demolition videos in 2016, like this super slow motion bridge demolition and this video of 116 excavators working side by side to demolish an overpass overnight, but this new video is already on top of the leaderboard for best demolitions of 2017.
No matter how fun demolitions and demolition videos might be, there’s an inherent danger to performing them that cannot be overlooked. Just last year, a different parking garage collapsed during a demolition in Houston, Texas, which landed on one of the excavators performing the work. Thankfully, no one was injured in that collapse, but it could have been much worse.