Caltrans prepares for Bay Bridge pier implosion Saturday

Saturday, November 14, 2015
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It's all systems go for Saturday's implosion of a pier of the old Bay Bridge.

TREASURE ISLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It's all systems go for Saturday's implosion of a pier of the old Bay Bridge. Caltrans says the underwater event will likely take place at the first opportunity, just after sunrise - but things could change.

Caltrans Environmental Manager Stefan Galvez says job one for Saturday's Bay Bridge implosion is minimizing the danger to wildlife.

"If we see marine mammals such as the harbor seal coming into the area, we may need to delay the implosion," he said.

The implosion is a highly-choreographed but short six-second sequence that is being overseen by a cast of hundreds.

"We will be imploding Pier E3 using approximately 600 highly sequentially-controlled devices, each of them weighing anywhere from 21 to 35 pounds. And there will be a lot activity in respect to environmental monitoring," Caltrans spokesperson Leah Robinson-Leach said.

VIDEO: Caltrans discusses plan for Bay Bridge pier implosion

Seconds before the underwater explosives are set off, a bubble shield will be created to protect fish and wildlife in the area.

There is also a floating sonar system, pinging sounds that will be set off to repel animals from the area.

Caltrans wants to warn drivers the bridge will be shut down 15 minutes before the implosion and the bike pathways will be closed the night before.

The Transbay Tube will also come to halt for a short time, but the new Bay Bridge will be unaffected.

There are two possible windows for the event - 7 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

"I just wanted to see the implosion," Redwood City resident Eric Nadler said. He's booked a party boat for the afternoon, knowing full well that the implosion could be over before he and 100 other people even leave the dock.

"We're going to make an entire party around it. So even if we don't see the implosion, even if it's done earlier in the day, then we still have a great time on the water," Nadler said.

He says he has about a dozen tickets left at $90 apiece.

If this implosion goes well, Caltrans may use the technique again to bring down the remaining piers of the old Bay Bridge.