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Date set for Didcot blast…

First Didcot blast just a month away.

The explosive demolition of Didcot Power Station will begin early in the morning of Sunday, July 27, it has been announced this morning.

Three of the iconic cooling towers will be brought down on that day in under a minute with a controlled explosion.

Npower spokeswoman Kelly Brown said: “This is just the first milestone in the demolition of Didcot A Power Station but will be a significant change to the local landscape. We understand that the power station has been part of the local community for over 42 years and for many people the demolition of these first three cooling towers will mark a significant day for Didcot and Oxfordshire.”

Video – One big shove…

Drone’s eye view of the demolition of a former rock silo.

The “demolition pole giving it one big shove” method of felling this rock silo might be a little primitive.

But the methods used to capture the process – a drone and a boom-mounted GoPro camera – give this demolition job a modern and beautiful high definition twist.

Video – Bridge building but backwards…

San Francisco’s famous Bay Bridge is slowly retracting.

What was once the largest cantilever bridge in the US is slowly coming down.

The old San Francisco Bay Bridge – which sits alongside its shiny new replacement – is being dismantled using what engineers are describing “bridge building but backwards” techniques.

Project engineers have used old photos and construction records to analyse how the bridge was built. The bridge is now being dismantled in reverse.

The demolition is expected to last for three years.

Video – Four Cats are better than one…

Chicago’s Ontario street ramp succumbs to mass Cat attack.

When you’re faced with a lot of work to be done and only a limited time in which y=to get it done, sometimes – just sometimes – the only solution is to throw a lot of kit at it.

And that certainly looks to be the case in this day and night time-lapse that shows the removal of the Ontario street ramp in Chicago.

Four (what look to be identical) Caterpillar excavators make light work of the bridge removal on behalf of the Illinois Department of Transport.

Video – The Eagle has landed…

CDI fells a 150 foot stack at the Sunoco Eagle Point refinery.

And this, my friends, is how you implode a smokestack. CDI, acting as explosive subcontractor to NCM Demolition and Remediation doesn’t so much blow down this 150 foot tall stack as lie it down and gently tuck it into bed.

Check it out.

Video – Bridge goes out with a bang…

400 pounds of explosives turn D’Iberville bridge into debris pile

And just like that, all that remained of the Big Ridge Road bridge was a massive dust cloud.

Just after 10 p.m. Saturday, the Mississippi Department of Transportation demolished the bridge as part of a $41 million interchange project that’s expected to be completed by August 2015.

MDOT district engineer Gabe Faggard said they drilled holes across the bridge to place about 400 pounds of explosive for the demolition. Sixty seconds after a warning siren sounded Saturday night, a streak of red light shot across the bridge as the dynamite exploded. A puff of dust immediately followed. Tiny bits of debris could still be heard falling to the pavement at the nearby Holmes Motors car lot seconds later. “It sure does take a lot longer to build one of those,” quipped a worker shortly after the demolition, dust still hovering above the remains of the bridge.

Read more here or view the video below:

Never completed, never occupied…

Las Vegas’ Harmon Tower is coming down at long last.

MGM Resorts International has begun the year-long process of demolishing the only portion of the $8.5 billion, 67-acre CityCenter development that was never completed.

The Harmon Hotel was once considered the front door to the Strip complex of five high-rise buildings.

Instead, work halted on the Harmon after construction defects were found in 2008. Eventually the building was deemed structurally unsound.

The planned 47-story tower, which was stopped at 26 floors, became the centerpiece of a massive legal dispute between MGM Resorts and CityCenter partner Dubai World with Tudor Perini Building Co., the general contractor on the complex, over responsibility for $400 million in damage claims associated with the Harmon.

Instead of blowing the building up in grand fashion, contractors hired by MGM Resorts are now removing scrap metal and other materials from the building, along with taking off the blue-tinged glass that has covered the structure for the last five years.

The process also includes installing pedestrian protection systems outside the structure above adjacent sidewalks and walkways.

In the next few weeks, a construction crane will be erected to remove the building piece by piece.

“The pedestrian bridges will remain open to allow the free flow of traffic through the process,” said MGM Resorts spokesman Gordon Absher. “The street-level sidewalk in front of Harmon has been closed.”

Total cost of the demolition, being paid for by CityCenter, is expected to be $11.5 million.

Read more here.

Product – Time to talk mug…

Check out the latest addition to the DemolitionNews product store.

MugMy wife, children, dogs, budgie and any other regular or occasional visitors to Demolition News Towers know the score. While I am a teddy bear in the afternoon, I am a grizzly bear – a grizzly bear with a sore head and a nagging desire to kill – first thing in the morning or, more importantly, until the first cup of coffee has weaved its caffeine-laced magic.

If you can relate to that, the latest addition to the DemolitionNews product store will undoubtedly appeal.

Designed to provide family, friends and colleagues with a visual “safe to approach” message, the new “time to talk” mug is available NOW from the store at just £6.00 plus £2 P&P for UK customers.

We reckon £8 to protect your sanity and the safety of your fellow workers represents a pretty good deal.

Comment – The Expendables

Another site death to heap shame upon and industry that refuses to change.

I was alerted to the latest death of a demolition worker by a post on Twitter from former Institute of Demolition Engineers’ president John Woodward who, in typically prosaic manner, said, simply: World demolition industry – This has to stop.

He is right of course; site deaths do need to stop. But the longer the industry continues to maim and kill its workers, the more I wonder if there is actually a will to change.

I occasionally report upon companies that have seized the nettle and invested in additional health and safety training or that have pursued a behavioural safety policy. But I report on them because they’re newsworthy; unusual; unique. If everyone was training to that degree, there would be no need to report on it. That alone suggests that while a few are willing to go that extra mile to protect their workers, the vast majority remain content to wing it and hope for the best.

Sounds cynical, right? Maybe. But here’s another factor to consider.

Have you ever noticed that migrant workers seem to feature in accident reports rather more than statistics suggest they should? In the US, an unusually high number of site deaths and accidents seem to feature a victim with a Hispanic name. Here in the UK, there seems to be a preponderance of accidents and fatalities involving workers from the former Eastern Europe even though population statistics suggest that they make up on a tiny fraction of the nation’s workforce.

Now some might suggest that a failure to understand or fully grasp safety instructions in something other than their native language is a contributory factor. This is an all-too-convenient cover-all explanation that lays the blame for any such accident firmly at the door of the foreign worker that can’t speak English. But that fails to address the real crux of the problem.

Why are seemingly reputable demolition companies employing people with whom they can hardly communicate? Is it to widen their own grasp of the Romanian or Spanish language? Is it to bring some cultural diversity to their workforce? Is it to make the World Cup sweep stake that bit more interesting? No. They are employing migrant workers because they will generally endure working conditions that would have American and British workers heading for the site exit or a tribunal; they are employing migrant workers because they are cheap. And by cheap, of course, I mean expendable.

John Woodward was totally right when he called for the global demolition industry to prevent further site deaths. But, as the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. The problem the industry faces right now is that far too few are demonstrating that they have the will.

Video – Last man standing…

Stubborn structure falls at second time of asking.

The ongoing demolition at Duke Energy’s HF Lee plant continued this past week. But unlike its sister structures and the smokestacks imploded at the end of last year, one of the buildings refused to fall, tarnishing a blast sequence.

Thankfully, the explosives engineers managed to pop the structure the second time around.

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