When reported last fall, there was a lot of debate about the nature of the Caltrans-proposed plan to implode the largest pier of the "old" Eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Would it be a bang, or (an underwater) whimper? Would there be anything to see at all? And what about the poor fish?
When the implosion finally went down on November 14, what resulted was a strangely satisfying splash and boom. Here it is, in glorious slo-mo:
According to Caltrans, the impact on wildlife was minimal, with area fish and mammals all making it through the detonation intact. All told, Bay Bridge chief engineer Brian Maroney said after the data was in, "this method can be the best way to remove such large piers from the bay waters."
That's why yesterday, Caltrans asked the Toll Bridge Oversight Committee, (which, as you might have expected from the name, provides "project oversight and project control for the Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program in California," their website reads) to approve a contract to implode the 15 remaining piers. And the committee said yes, Caltrans spokesperson Leah Robinson-Leach confirmed to SFist today.
"We are really pleased with the approval of the contract to implode Piers E4 - E18," Robinson-Leach says of the $130 million joint venture between construction and engineering firms Kiewit and Manson.
The next implosion is planned for fall of 2016, as that time of year "has the least impact on the environment," Robinson-Leach says. It will take down two more of the piers (E4 and E5). Six more (E6 through E11) will be imploded in the fall of 2017, and the remaining seven (Piers E12 through E18) will get blown in the fall of 2018.
Caltrans will continue to work with all other area agencies to ensure that they will "continue to be good environmental stewards" as the implosions continue, Robinson-Leach says. "We appreciate the public's support as we go through this process."