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Caltrans blows up a pier of the Old Bay Bridge!

Old Bay Bridge Eastern Span

This morning, Caltrans blew up one of the last remaining piers of the old Bay Bridge. has a video! The pier was imploded by Caltrans at 7:17 a.m. Saturday, triggering 20,000 pounds of dynamite to pulverize the upper portion of the structure. continues:

Spouts of water shot skyward from the force of the blast, but the explosives detonated mostly below the water surface. Caltrans had placed a wooden and steel mat on top of the 80-by-140-foot concrete pier to contain the debris.

Spectators hoping to see a towering explosion may have been disappointed — the blast heaved water about 100’ above the pier, but little debris was visible other than the mat being splintered.

The six-second implosion was timed to take advantage of slack tide, limited wildlife activity and, Caltrans hoped, light traffic.

Traffic on the NEW span of the Bay Bridge was halted for only 5-7 minutes during the $20 million demolition, and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) officials suspended train traffic under the Bay during the detonation. says:

“As far as we know, everything went according to plan,” said Leah Robinson-Leach, a Caltrans spokeswoman. “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.”

Leach said implosions may be used to remove the dozen other remaining piers. She estimated it would cost around $190 million.

The plan was to demolish the top 50 feet of the pier and bury the debris at the base of the 225-foot-deep remainder of the structure.

Caltrans had hoped to limit harm to marine life, but before the blast it predicted as many as 1,775 endangered longfin smelt, and possibly other species, could be killed.

Although the event attracted crowds of spectators, there was actually comparatively little to see at this historic event, since most of the explosions occurred underwater.

-Bill at

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