Lehigh Valley

Lots of planning goes into Martin Tower implosion

Months of planning went in to what will literally be 20 seconds.

But officials say most of the planning isn't about the actual implosion, but about what happens before and after.

"We'll make sure we have 100 percent control of the area before we press the button," said Controlled Demolition Inc. member Thom Doud. "As the building comes to the ground, as it's crushing like a can it's actually consuming its own energy."

While Controlled Demolition Inc. workers are busy planning how Martin Tower will fall, Bethlehem officials are planning what will happen before and after the landmark is imploded.

It's a task that's taken months of preparation and involves practically every city department and several state and federal agencies.

"In addition we're working with the private partners that are the owners of the building and we have utilities UGI and PPL involved to make sure that this gets pulled off safely," said emergency management coordinator Bob Novatnack.

While Bethlehem hasn't imploded a building before, officials say handling large scale public events like Musikfest have prepared the city for whatever the implosion may bring. Bethlehem police will have roughly 30 officers working road blocks and restricted areas.

"Officers will be on motorcycles on bikes and in cars you will see them throughout the morning all through the area," said police chief Mark Diluzio.

Diluzio says after the implosion is when the real hard work begins. He anticipates when the roads are re-opened, there will be a surge of people wanting to drive past the implosion site.

"You won't be able to get on the rubble pile OK so don't even think about it. The main thing is we want to keep everybody moving," said Diluzio. 

The Bethlehem Fire Department will also have extra manpower on shift. The fire marshal making sure that the explosives used in the implosion are stored properly. And during the event, ambulances and fire trucks will be placed in strategic locations to make sure help can get where it needs to go.

Fire officials say crews will also be checking with building owners around the implosion site.

"They do set off the burglar alarms, fire alarms, car alarms, so we anticipate that there could be some fire alarms that go off afterwards," said fire chief Warren Achey.

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