This morning at 7:17, the long-awaited implosion of one of the larger piers from the old Bay Bridge went off marvelously as hundreds of microcharges beneath the water sent a massive plume of water into the air. Here it is, on video!
Now, watch the-80-by-140-foot concrete pier blow, in slow motion!
Traffic on the Bay Bridge and BART travel beneath was paused for about seven minutes during the E3's implosion, with no perceptible back-ups or delays.
Since Caltrans had placed a wooden and steel barrier on top of the pier (it blew up when the pier did), the debris from the explosion remained below the surface. All in all, Caltrans expects that the top 50 feet of the E3 pier were destroyed in the explosion. 225 feet of the structure will remain beneath the water, at the base of which the debris from the blast will be buried.
In total, the implosion lasted about six seconds, and cost Caltrans about $20 million. Though Caltrans took measures to scare all visible animals away from the area during the event, they estimate that about 1,775 (endangered) longfin smelt, as well as other underwater creatures, were killed in the blast.
“As far as we know, everything went according to plan,” Caltrans spokesperson Leah Robinson-Leach told the Chron.
“We can't know everything at this point. It could take days or weeks to survey the environmental ramifications on air quality, water quality, and animals. We want to create the best methodology moving forward.”
As previously noted, it's likely that Caltrans will use this same methodology to take down twelve more of the old Bay Bridge's piers. In the end, they expect the entire explosion program to cost around $190 million.