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Debris should cause few problems

| Friday, Feb. 9, 2001, 12:00 p.m.

Demolition experts love wide open spaces.

With few buildings located near Three Rivers Stadium, engineers may let some debris fly from the blast.

'We're not trying to stop every pebble,' said Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition Inc. of Phoenix, Md.

Not to worry, the Steelers new $289 million home should escape unscathed, Loizeaux said.

Crews draped a fabric curtain over the new stadium being built a mere 60 feet away to protect it from dust and flying debris.

In addition, crews have taken extra measures to suppress debris on the west side of Three Rivers closest to the new Steelers' stadium.

Openings between the levels in Three Rivers have been blocked with the same fabric that covers the new stadium.

Openings between levels around the rest of the old stadium will be left uncovered, Loizeaux said. Some projectiles might fly from these uncovered areas.

Loizeaux would not estimate how far bits of concrete might fly but said he did not expect any projectiles to fly out of the work site.

He said the structures most susceptible to damage were the new stadium and trailers being used on the site.

The Implosion of
Three Rivers Stadium
A press of a button will ignite the implosion of Three Rivers Stadium . Nearly a ton of dynamite will go off, in a series of blasts that will knock out the steel and concrete supports, causing the nearly 31-year-old stadium to collapse.

Implosion is a demolition technique used to cause a structure to collapse. The Three Rivers implosion will involve many small blasts rather than one large explosion. Non-electric, time-delay detonating cords will initiate the dynamite blasting caps to cause the stadium to fall.

For an in-depth look at how the implosion will work, plus a look at key points in Stadium History, download this PDF file .

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You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader to view this file.

Download the free reader here .

The specialized fabric being used as protective covering feels like a thick wool blanket and is the same black material that can be seen wrapped around the stadium's 800 columns.

Crews have completed loading approximately 3,000 pounds of dynamite into more than 2,700 holes drilled into the columns.

Underneath the fabric is chain-link fencing. The fencing and tough fabric are designed to knock down debris.

Inspection of a column blasted during Saturday's test showed that the covering knocked down much of the concrete debris.

The blast mangled the rebar inside the column and the concrete was pulverized. Handfuls could be scooped like sand out of the middle of the column.

The test used only a fraction of the dynamite that will be detonated during the implosion.

See These Related Stories

End of an era nears for stadium Three Rivers will be reduced to rubble in 19 seconds. In its place two new North Side sports venues are being constructed. In the stadium's waning days, Pittsburghers and former players looked back fondly on the landmark, beloved for the champions who played there and derided for its bland, cookie-cutter appearance.

Graphic: Best sight lines Ten good spots to watch the Three Rivers Stadium Implosion. (136kb)

Mike Prisuta:
Memories made stadium special
It wasn't around all that long, relatively speaking, and it had few if any distinguishing characteristics from an architectural standpoint. Still, it quickly became a special and historic place. If there's anything to lament as Three Rivers Stadium sits poised to be blasted into history, it is that in the end, none of that mattered.

Coming Monday
A special four-page section commemorating the Three Rivers Stadium implosion. Also, look for an opportunity to purchase a special limited-edition photo of the implosion from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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