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.
Last July, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that undergoing a demolition suddenly fell, amid odd circumstances, and flying debris fatally injured one of the contractor’s project managers. Now, the family of the man killed is filing lawsuits against all parties involved with the demolition, calling it “illegal” and “reckless.”
Demolitions by implosion can be fun to watch when they go right – or wrong – but nearby residents can be greatly affected by the high powered blasts and huge clouds of debris that follow. A few years ago, a botched demolition in England left dozens of nearby residents unable to return to their homes for several days. Last week, an obsolete Steel Basic Oxygen Plant in Weirton, West Virginia is leaving residents in a similar situation.
JPMorgan Chase announced their intentions to tear down their existing 52-story headquarters in Manhattan, New York City early last year. When the demolition is complete, it is widely believed that it will be the tallest building ever to be voluntarily demolished. It’s speculated that the building will be dismantled floor-by-floor, as opposed to imploded, due to obvious safety concerns.
As you may already know, the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks officially opened their new home, the Fiserv Forum, for the 2018-2019 NBA season last October. That new stadium is being heralded as the “World’s First Bird Friendly Arena,” due to many of the design features. Well, since the new one is open, we can only expect that the old, non-bird friendly (I’m assuming) arena has overstayed its welcome and has to go.
Let’s get 2019 started with the first building demolition by implosion of the year.
Multiple buildings imploded at the same time with multiple different camera views? Sounds like the making of a great demolition video.
Demolition by implosion videos are always fun to watch. Adding an element of water makes them even more dramatic, though it’s probably not great for the ecosystem. Late last week, a one mile long, 23 year-old bridge in China was imploded in front of a crowd of spectators and caught on camera.