MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Construction crews took a big step Sunday towards demolishing the Metrodome.
Anyone in the downtown area may have heard a loud blast as explosives were used to take down a concrete ring beam inside the Dome.
Roads leading to the Metrodome were blocked off Sunday morning as crews worked to destroy another piece of the iconic stadium. No one was allowed within 250 feet and barriers went up around 5:30 a.m.
Two hours later, 24 charges placed on structural columns were set off sequentially so that the beam would fall according to plan.
Senior Vice President of Mortenson Construction John Wood said Sunday’s demolition was a success.
“We’re delighted with what happened. The ring beam is on the ground and that’s what we wanted. No one was hurt. As far as we know, there was no property damage in the area and everyone seems satisfied with how it went,” Wood said.
Explosives weren’t part of the original plan to demolish the Dome. The decision was made after a ring beam fell out of sequence on Monday, Feb. 17. After a week of looking at all options, it was decided that explosives were the safest option.
Several spectators brought their cameras to take pictures and watch the blast.
“It was an awesome experience. It came down with a huge thud. There was lots of dust and smoke everywhere. Then, all of the sudden, the building behind looked smoky. It was eerie as the building crept up from behind. End of an era and changing times for downtown Minneapolis,” said Mel Miketic, who watched the explosion.
Even though Sunday’s explosion brought down large sections of the Dome, Wood said it doesn’t mean the timeline changes for the demolition process.
“While it may seem we brought a lot of the building down, and it seems to accelerated the demolition process, we now still have a critical process to go through to plan the safe demotion of what remains,” Wood said.
Meanwhile, as crews work to tear down the Dome, construction on the new stadium continues nearby. The new stadium is set to open in 2016.