Caltrans officials have delayed the implosion of the old Bay Bridge's largest concrete pier until November 14. As we reported earlier this week, the explosive event was set to take place this coming Saturday morning in order to expedite the demolition of the old bridge's eastern span. A San Francisco Chronicle report quotes officials as saying "packaging problems with the dynamite needed to destroy the structure" are the cause of the delay. According to the chief engineer on the project, weak packaging could result in a less-powerful explosion not strong enough bring down the 80-by-140-foot pier. But the delay doesn't mean that the old bridge, like it's famous London counterpart in the nursery rhyme, won't be falling down.
The Chronicle says that the action will occur at 1 p.m. on Nov. 14th, during slack tide. Officials say that bike and pedestrian lanes will be closed from 6 p.m. the night before, traffic will be stopped in both directions for about 15 minutes at the time of the blast, and BART's Transbay Tube will be closed during the event. Boats will be kept about 1,500 feet away. Officials say that motorists on the bridge at the time of the blast will hear muffled explosions.
Caltrans will be installing what they call a bubble curtain (pipes that create a forced-air wall) that will contain the blast. The Chronicle reports they will also be using sound-emitting buoys to scare birds away from the blast. Earlier, Baykeeper environmentalists announced they will be monitoring the event and keeping tabs on its impact on marine life.
Caltrans officials say that protective covers will make it hard to see anything from land, but they plan to install a camera and broadcast the action on their website.