The Star-News


Going down

Fri, Feb 01 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité-montecalvo

What goes up must come down.

A 165-foot landmark structure that’s taken up space on Chula Vista's prime bayfront property for more than 50 years is scheduled for implosion Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7 a.m.

A final decision to proceed depends on weather conditions.

“We want it to be a clear day with low wind speeds,” Dynegy public relations director Katy Sullivan said. “It really has to do with making sure there’s nothing that would interfere. The clear day is really about visibility and moisture.”

Leading up to the implosion, plans could change minute by minute, according to Port public information officer Tanya Castaneda.

“Theoretically it could happen anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.,” Castaneda said.

The Port will use its Twitter account to send out continual updates on the day of the event.

The plant’s main structure sits on approximately 13 acres of a 115-acre leasehold held by Dynegy South Bay LLC.

Oakland-based general contractor Silverado was selected to perform demolition activities and chose explosion and demolition expert Dykon to implode the plant.

“The Port’s been working for many years to get this accomplished,” Castaneda said. “We acquired the land in the ’90s with the goal of demolishing the power plant … now that we’re able to, it’s a real moment of triumph for the region.”

Hundreds and potentially thousands of current and former elected city officials, stakeholders, residents, passersby and the media will watch collectively as the community eyesore implodes on the Chula Vista bayfront.

Castaneda said a large viewing area would be available to the public.

“We’re going to open up the parking lot of (Chula Vista) bayfront view park,” Castaneda said.

There will also be a designated area for delegates and VIPs, south of Marina Way.

Dynegy first began removing on-site structures, turbines and generators in August.

“We’ve been removing the boiler component up to the first three floors of the structure to prepare for the implosion,” Sullivan said.

The actual implosion will take fewer than two minutes and sound like rolling thunder with reverberations, according to Sullivan.

“You’ll see the light from the charges, then hear the sound,” Sullivan said.

A set perimeter on land and in the water will protect the crew and public when approximately 70 small, controlled dynamite charges are detonated within the steel and concrete power block to bring it down in a controlled manner.

“All the steel beams — you want them to accept the implosion so that the structure falls over,” Sullivan said. “You want a tipping effect to cause the plant to roll on its side.”

The charges will be set within the plant’s lower levels throughout the facility, leveling the heavy steel framework, according to Sullivan.

“We expect the structure based on the design of the implosion to fall on its side so we can recycle the steel instead of dismantling it from the top,” she said. “The three facilities closer to the water fall to the north and the one closer to the road falls to the east. This is the most effective way to bring the structure down and restore the view to the city of Chula Vista so that future development plans can begin.”

The project is expected to generate upwards of 24,000 tons of various metals, which will be recycled and salvaged, according to Sullivan.

“The demolition of the power plant will free up that valuable land for better purposes,” Castaneda said. “Eventually that land will become public parks and the power plant’s removal will be an important step toward bringing economic development and additional public amenities to the Chula Vista bayfront.”

Following the implosion the site will be cleared of debris and environmental remediation and below-ground demolition work will set the groundwork for the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, which will transform the area into a world-class resort and conference destination with a mix of residential, retail and more than 240 acres of parks and nature preserve.


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