Dominion energy implosion in richmond

Dominion Energy to implode Richmond office tower

In Richmond, Virginia, a prominent structure that has graced the downtown skyline for more than four decades will disappear in about 20 seconds Saturday morning. Dominion Energy's former 21-story office tower, situated at the junction of 7th Street and E. Cary Street, is scheduled for demolition, weather permitting, at 7 a.m. on May 30, 2020.

For safety reasons, a 15-block perimeter around the building will be closed to both pedestrian and vehicular traffic from approximately 5:30 a.m. on May 30. The area is set to reopen in the hours following the implosion, with the exception of the specified street closures. This restricted zone encompasses the south side of E. Main Street from 10th to 5th Streets, extending to the north side of E. Byrd Street from 5th to 10th Streets. Main and Byrd Streets, however, will remain accessible on May 30.

Preparations for the building's demolition have been underway since mid-October 2019, with initial phases involving soft demolition and abatement activities. According to Ken Tysinger, Corporate Senior Manager at D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company, one of the firms involved in readying the building for implosion, extensive work has been carried out over the past several months, including stripping the structure down to its core framework.

Following the completion of the preliminary work by D.H. Griffin, crews from Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) commenced preparations for the building's implosion. This phase included drilling a total of 2,563 holes throughout the structure to accommodate 3,270 pounds of nitroglycerin-based dynamite, loaded into the holes. An intricate non-electric initiation system was designed to trigger the charges sequentially with specific delay patterns, covering 13 levels of the building. The demolition plan incorporates 117 secondary delays and an additional 260 micro delays to minimize noise and prevent damage to adjacent properties.

To safeguard nearby structures from dust and debris, various protective measures have been implemented, such as the use of shipping containers, tall blast curtains (measuring 60 to 80 feet), and devices referred to as "dust bosses," which disperse a fine mist of water to mitigate dust.

As to how the implosion is supposed to play out, Loizeaux said it should be over in about 20 seconds.

“Whoever is watching is going to hear nine separate delays over a six-and-a-half second period. It’s going to go ‘Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.’ and nothing's going to happen. It's just going to sit there. That's the initiation system going off,” said Loizeaux. “Then the demolition charges are initiated by the internal blasting caps that are inside those columns and shear walls and beams. That's the ‘Boom, boom, boom’ that comes after it and that's what's going to bring the building down with gravity’s help.”

Loizeaux said an example of a similar demolition conducted by his company was of the 28-story Capital Plaza Office Tower in Frankfort, Kentucky done back in 2018.

Recycling is a central part of the project, with an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 tons of reinforced concrete debris set to be generated by the implosion. Up to 95% of this material will be repurposed, including the crushing of concrete for use in other local projects, and the recycling of reinforcing steel, aluminum, copper, and other metals.

The public is strongly discouraged from attending the implosion in person due to the inherent dangers associated with explosives handling. Instead, authorities encourage individuals to watch the event from the safety of their homes. Once the demolition is complete, the site cleanup is projected to conclude by mid-summer.

A spokesperson for Dominion Energy will announce future plans for the property at a later date.

Article Author: Cameron Thompson

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