The End of the Vet

NADC Members Team for Picture Perfect Implosion

By Michael Taylor

(Originally published in Demolition Magazine)


The implosion of The Vet was a true NADC team effort. Chicago-based Brandenburg Industrial Service Co.'s Bethlehem, PA office bid the project. They teamed with Franklin, TN-based Demolition Dynamics, a division of Cincinnati's O'Rourke Wrecking Co., to bring the structure down. Rancocas, NJ-based Protec Documentation Services handled all the vibration monitoring, property inspections, video, photography and project documentation. All three firms also participated in an extensive community outreach effort.

Philadelphia General Contractor and new Association member L.F. Driscoll along with joint venture partner Hunt Construction were responsible for the construction of both the Phillies' new Citizens Bank Park and the demolition of Veterans Stadium.

After much discussion and numerous meetings with local community leaders, the decision was made to implode the Vet. Brandenburg began preparing the stadium by performing the necessary preliminary work several months prior to the implosion date. The utilities were disconnected, capped, and rerouted throughout the site. Asbestos contaminating material was removed throughout the stadium including the galbestos sheeting that existed on the sunshade. All the Vet's famous blue seats were removed and the stadium's hated Astroturf playing surface was taken up. The Vet's elaborate underfield drainage system was excavated and the center of the stadium's playing field would be where Demolition Dynamics would "place" the Vet's exterior wall.

Brandenburg brought in a fleet of Liebherr excavators with LaBounty processors to remove the field seating areas. This allowed the remaining structures to be dropped inward towards the center of the stadium while allowing room in the center to place a concrete recycling crusher. Cranes, track loaders, wheel loaders, skid steers, and manlifts were other types of equipment used on this project. Exterior ramps leading up to the stadium's gates were removed prior to the implosion.

This project was very high profile and drew many concerns from the stadium's residential neighbors and adjacent existing sporting complex. It was imperative for the work to be performed with little or no disruption to the immediate surroundings. There were innumerable meetings with the local neighbors to address all of their questions and concerns.

Extensive measures were taken to ensure that the neighborhood would be protected from noise, vibration, and dust. Brandenburg representatives devoted considerable time and effort to make sure that the neighbors were kept well informed of the project's status and all the necessary precautions were being taken.

Multiple teams of inspectors and engineers with Protec Documentation Services worked in the neighborhood around the Vet for weeks, documenting existing site conditions, recording project progress and preparing to monitor the implosion's vibration levels. They interfaced with local residents on a daily basis, answering questions and allaying concerns.

Association member Demolition Dynamics, Inc. planned the implosion for Sunday, March 21st. The implosion was engineered to take a full 62 seconds for the structure to completely fall. Using smaller amounts of explosives in more locations and extending the time delay significantly reduced the vibration the felling of the Vet would cause. This in turn reduced the potential for any structural damage to adjacent homes and sports complexes.

Demolition Dynamics systematically placed 2,518 pounds of 60% NG product (dynamite) to bring down Veterans Stadium. Five miles of 25-grain detonator cord and 3,697 detonators were installed. The detonators covered 382 delays ranging from 17 to 525 milliseconds each, over the 62-second period - the longest blast ever performed of a single structure. The maximum explosive detonated per delay was a mere 12 pounds.

Prior to loading the Stadium, one bay was removed conventionally by Brandenburg to provide space to perform the one-way rotation of the structure. The Stadium structure would rotate clockwise with the three elevator towers rotating independently. These elevators were added during a stadium renovation to provide access to the Vet's Superboxes located at the top of the facility.





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