was a cloudy Saturday morning late in May. That morning at 9
am, the Hayes Homes housing projects in Newark, N.J., would
be dealt a fatal blow. Two 12-story buildings separated by a
smokestack loomed over an otherwise graded site. Just after
8:30 am, a driving rain began to pound the pavement. Yannuzzi
Estimator Jeff Forsythe inquired, "Could you have asked
for better timing than 20 minutes to 9 (a.m.) on implosion day?"
a demolition and recycling outfit out of Orange, NJ, was awarded
a contract - just shy of $1 million - by the Newark Housing
Authority to take down the last three structures that stood
on the site of Hayes Homes housing project. Although the rain
provided a soggy experience for the crews from Yannuzzi; Phoenix,
Md.-based Controlled Demolition Inc, (CDI), the implosion subcontractor;
and dozens of onlookers, it did wonders for dust control. As
the buildings crumbled to the ground following a series of loud
cracks, the pounding rain extinguished the massive dust cloud
in a matter of minutes.
debris from the implosion has been cleared out, the site will
be graded and construction will begin for a mixed income townhouse
not just getting the building to fall down, but you want to
do it in such a fashion that you can facilitate debris removal,"
explained Douglas K. Loizeaux, vice president of CDI.
Not to mention,
there was no damage to surrounding structures. Part of the credit
for this is taken by Protec Documentation Services, Rancocas,
NJ, who was hired by Yannuzzi to ensure the safety of the surrounding
neighborhood during the implosion and provide photo documentation.
Protec pre-inspected all surrounding structures, focusing on
the historic Saint Stanislaus Church. The team also installed
seismographs around the site to keep a check on ground vibration
and airblast levels.
Homes complex was built on a 5.5 acre plot. At one time, ten
12-story residential high-rise buildings loomed over the site.
A 140-foot-tall smoke stack, a senior center and a community
center were also on site. In 1998 the Newark Housing Authority
began evacuating residents and letting contracts to level the
entire complex. Why? Simply because the once respectable housing
complex had become what the Housing and Urban Development Authority
(HUD) defines as "unviable." Translated, Hayes was
unsuitable to live in. It was built back in 1954, and after
46 years, the structures had become decrepit and overrun with
crime. Not to mention, the elevator and other internal systems
were out of commission.
had seen its share of demolition projects, but never an implosion.
"All of the non-masonry material is removed from the buildings
so when they come down, all we have is a recycling job,"
Forsythe said. But there was a lot more to it than that.
The blast plan provided a detailed layout of where the preparation
work would be needed. In the case of Hayes Homes, floors one,
three, six and nine were targeted. Using four Bobcat skid steer
loaders with grapple buckets, crews proceeded to selectively
remove portions of the non-load bearing and load bearing walls
and isolate the key structural supports where explosives would
be planted. An added step involved pre-weakening the stairwells
and elevator shafts so they would give way properly during implosion.
The team also draped geotextile fabric over certain openings
in the building to hinder airborne rubble. A chain link fence
was wrapped around the perimeter to block off any stray debris.
aspect of the project was the removal of a two-story community
center / boiler house by way of conventional demolition methods.
The structure, flanking the smokestack, formerly provide hot
water to the entire complex. A pair of Komatsu PC400LC excavators
with grapples and a Caterpiller 973 loader with a grapple bucket
took part in the removal effort. The grapple on one PC400LC
was switched up with a pulverizer to break down large pieces
of concrete as demolition progressed. Yannuzzi removed three
steel 25.000-gallon underground storage tanks as well.
that stands vertically want to fall due to gravity's effect
on it," explained Loizeaux, a 25-year implosion veteran,
"We really aren't blowing the structure up. We're using
explosives as a catalyst."
In the days
leading up to the implosion, crews used pneumatic drills to
bore 1,300 holes within the reinforced concrete columns of the
two structures and another 40 in the smokestack. It took 180
pounds of nitroglycerin-based dynamite to trigger the collapse.
Cleanup and recycling started after the implosion. Yannuzzi
used three Komatsu PC400LC excavators with grapple, bucker and
pulverizer to facilitate sort, and stockpile surplus material.
An Eagle 2500 crusher was used to bring oversized material down
to size. The company was granted a Class B recycling permit
from the State of New Jersey to sell the useable material.
"killed two birds with one stone" during the cleanup.
As material was sorted, the basements of the two buildings were
dug out. As this took place, crews began excavating the footings.
Recycled concrete was used for backfill.
This article has been edited from its original length