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.
Demolitions by implosion seems like the easiest way to knock down a structure, but there is so much preparation that goes into it that even the slightest mistake can have a huge impact. When smokestacks are demolished correctly, it can be a thing of beauty, like when these two silos in Scotland hit each other midair or when this asbestos filled stack was precisely demolished to fall into a pool of water. Things didn’t go so smoothly for demolition crews in Denmark last week, however.
As we’ve seen in the past, demolitions aren’t all about implosions. There are still many manual demolitions that are carried out by skilled excavator operators. The Victoria Street Bridge in Ontario, Canada is a recent example of that.
It’s been a while since we have shared a demolition video on Construction Junkie. We recently discussed a very high profile demolition project, the tallest voluntary demolition on record, which is schedule to start next year and how it is expected to happen, but no videos. Between the cold weather in most of the country and the general lack of interesting demolitions happening, it’s good to finally be back to feeling normal around here.
A couple weeks ago, JP Morgan Chase announced that they planned to demolish their existing 52-story Manhattan headquarters, which is believed to be the tallest voluntary demolition in history, in order to build a 70 story, 2.5 million square foot building in its place. The move left preservationists upset at the idea of scrapping the nearly 60 year old building and others wondering how exactly they were going to safely demolish a building that tall in such a congested and busy area.
This year saw more videos with environmental considerations taken into account, especially over waterways. Instead of imploding entire bridges, the part that spanned over top of the waterway were manually removed. I've also grown an appreciation for in-depth footage of demolitions that occurred under some interesting conditions. Some of the videos below show some extreme creativity to overcome obstacles.
On Sunday, demolition contractors tried to bring down the upper portion of the Pontiac Silverdome, former home to the Detroit Lions, but several of the explosives didn’t ignite and the structure was still upright after the smoke cleared. After videos of the failed demolition were posted online, the internet had a field day.
The Pontiac Silverdome was the home to the NFL’s Detroit Lions from 1975-2001 and NBA’s Detroit Pistons from 1978-1988. After the Lions opened their new Stadium in 2002, the Silverdome was passed around several times before it closed for the last time in 2013. Earlier this year, the building was condemned and the first round of demolition by implosion was scheduled for Sunday, December 3.
Getting the perfect view of a major building demolition can get you millions of hits, or even better, shared by us right here on Construction Junkie. Have your video get epic-ly photobombed and you’ll get even more views and definitely shared by us.
I don’t think there is anyone in the construction industry that has a better marketing department than Priestly Demolition, a demolition specialty contractor based in Ontario, Canada. Their Youtube channel is filled with high quality demolition videos in the form of timelapse videos and even a 24 minute long, highly detailed video of a bridge demolition so impressive it won awards for best in the world. Implosion videos are a great source of entertainment in their own right, but the videos that Priestly put out are not only entertaining, but also great for education purposes.
For almost 80 years, the Old Kosciuszko Bridge connected Brooklyn and Queens in New York. Much like many other bridges its age, it is being replaced due to capacity issues and deterioration. When it was completed in 1939, it was built for 10,000 cars per day. Unfortunately for the people who needed to use that bridge that past few decades, around 180,000 cars used it.