Capital Plaza Tower Q & A Series - First in a series to provide information regarding the implosion of the tower on March 11



CONTACT:  Pamela Trautner



FRANKFORT, Ky.  (Feb. 16, 2018) – Today the Finance and Administration Cabinet begins a series of questions and answers regarding the scheduled implosion of the Capital Plaza Tower on March 11 at 1:30 p.m.

This is the first in a series over the next several weeks, which will provide timely and accurate information on what preparations and precautions are being taken to address citizens’ questions and concerns.

A new website, capitalplaza.ky.gov, is now online. As information becomes available, it will be posted to the site for people to access at any time.


Q:  What company is doing the demolition work?

A:  Renascent Inc. is the demolition contractor for the project. They have contracted with Controlled Demolition Inc. (CDI) for the actual implosion of the tower. CDI has tremendous experience in doing this type of work all over the world having imploded more than 8,000 structures during the company’s 67-year history. In fact, CDI was the main demolition contractor for the Commonwealth Building, a 24-story, structural steel office building similar to the Capital Plaza Tower, located at 745 West Main Street in Louisville. The Commonwealth Building, situated only 20 feet from the brand new headquarters of the Commonwealth Insurance Company, was successfully imploded on January 16, 1994 without incident.

To learn more about CDI’s capabilities, go to controlled-demolition.com. For those interested in seeing a video of implosion projects CDI has done across the globe, there is a YouTube video called, “CDI-The Art of Demolition. The video montage provides a much better understanding of just how controlled implosions are designed and implemented.


Q:  What has been the experience of similar urban locations with buildings imploded close by?

A:  The implosion demolition industry has a successful record of bringing buildings down in close proximity to other structures. In many projects, the buildings demolished are located very close to structures, which are to remain. The closest structure to the tower, the Capital Plaza Hotel, is more than 400 feet away, an ample distance to reduce/eliminate the risk of damage to adjacent properties.


Q:  How big is the exclusion zone? Why is it the size that it is?

A:  The exclusion zone is approximately a 700-foot square buffer on all sides of the tower. This zone will be off limits to everyone on the day of the implosion.

One reason for the size of the exclusion zone is for noise purposes, especially given that the explosives will be above ground in the building. Staying further than 700 feet away will insure that people are not subjected to high noise levels that might cause injury. For homeowners within the zone and hotel occupants, they will be required to stay indoors during the blast for noise purposes.

The other reason for the size of the exclusion zone is debris from the implosion. It is expected for the debris to be contained in the space bounded by Wilkinson Blvd, Hill Street, St. Clair and Mero Street—all of which are well within the exclusion zone.


Q:  Won’t there be a lot of dust? Do vents need to be shut off?

A:  While debris will be contained within the zone, dust from the implosion presents the main unknown as it is the unavoidable byproduct of all types of demolition. How far the dust travels will depend on wind speed and direction that day. To help lessen the dust, for the last several months, the demolition contractor has been removing the majority of dust producing materials from the building such as drywall, plaster, ceramic tile, and carpet. Also, all hazardous building materials such as asbestos containing materials have been removed during the pre-implosion demolition process.

      In most implosion projects of this nature, the majority of dust should settle down within 15-30 minutes—again, depending on wind speed and direction. If it is raining, this will calm the dust down much more quickly. Air vents do not need to be shut off. However, if a homeowner will feel better by turning their heating or a/c off, then that is certainly their choice.


Q:  How long will the dust cleanup take?

A:  The dust clean-up time depends on weather conditions at the time of the implosion. After workmen have been cleared to enter the area, dust cleanup will immediately begin. Adequate crews and equipment will be on site to implement this process. The outermost perimeters will be cleaned first working inward to the areas that experienced the largest concentration of dust. This is done so that the largest portion of streets and residents can return to normal activities as soon as possible.


Q:  What is the difference between an implosion and an explosion?

A:  There is a huge difference between an implosion and an explosion. An implosion is a strategic engineered placement of explosives that produces a progressive failure of a structure. In this instance, the energy is directed inward to the tower itself. A typical blasting or explosion, is done in bedrock and causes significantly more seismic activity and transference of vibrations greater distances.


Q:  Won’t the implosion create major vibrations?

A:  Because the implosion is specifically designed for the energy to go inward and to minimize vibration, the tower will “curl” as it falls, which will soften the impact as the building comes down. The ground vibration is from the impact of the structure with the ground, not the explosives. The contractor is preparing a “building pad” in the area where the building is expected to impact the ground, which will serve to additionally soften the impact and cause the seismic vibration to not be transferred to the bedrock below. The physical feeling of the vibration is difficult to quantify because of the uniqueness of each project. However, some describe the feeling is similar to standing next to a fast moving train or a thunderstorm.


Q:  How will I know vibrations won’t harm my house?

A:  There are many federal and state regulations that CDI must comply with. For regulatory purposes, and to document any pre-implosion damage that exists in a structure and to document any alleged damage post-implosion, CDI is  required to have the independent geotechnical consultant inspect all structures within the exclusion zone and document its findings. Copies of these pre-blast and post-blast surveys of properties will be reviewed by representatives from the Finance Cabinet’s Division of Engineering and will be provided to each property owner whose property is surveyed.

We anticipate the debris impact will cause little or no vibration to nearby structures. The independent third-party engineering consultant specializes in seismic monitoring and will measure ground vibration levels on the day of the event to verify the implosion went as planned. These values will be compared to the U.S. Bureau of Mines vibration criteria for residential/commercial structures.

In the highly unlikely event should damage from the implosion occur, CDI will be liable and will be required to repair that damage.


Q:  Will I have to leave my home? If so, when?

A:  Safety is the number one consideration of all workers and people. Nearby residents and hotel guests must remain indoors from 45-minutes prior to the implosion to approximately 15-minutes following the implosion. The purpose of this shelter indoors requirement is to protect persons from sound vibration that could potentially cause injuries. By staying indoors, with windows and doors closed, there is no potential problem. Should residents or hotel guests wish to leave, they will need to do so at least an hour prior to the implosion. In the 7-10 days prior to March 11, CDI will meet with nearby building owners to inform them of the procedures that will be in place on the day of the implosion and to answer any questions they may have.


Q:  What should I do about pets?

A:  If you have pets and are in the exclusion zone, they should be sheltered indoors to insure they do not go near where the debris will be falling. If your pets are typically unsettled by thunder or other loud noises, then you may want to take precautions as you normally would during a storm.


Q:  How long with the implosion take?

A:  The actual implosion will occur in less than 30 seconds. There will be some nearby roadways temporarily closed beginning no later than 12:30 p.m. They will be reopened once the all clear sign is given, which should be approximately 15 minutes after the implosion. As soon as details on street closures are finalized, this information will be shared.



Exclusion Zone Map



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