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New Haven Coliseum Demolition

Design of green temporary structures to protect underground utilities during demolition of 35-year-old urban coliseum.

Weidlinger Associates consulted for the demolition contractor and the City of New Haven to develop schemes to protect underground utilities during demolition of a huge coliseum supported on twenty 65-foot super-columns. Using high-fidelity computer simulations, Weidlinger assessed the impact on utilities from falling debris and the effectiveness of proposed mitigation. Weidlinger created, tested, and supervised the construction of temporary structures made of recycled materials from the site, as well as 15,000 rented tires and "chicken wire" fencing. On South Orange Street, a bridge was designed to take advantage of falling debris from the blasting to anchor one side, eliminating the need for connections that would damage the street. On George Street, a wedge-shaped berm of soil was built to reduce the effects of damaging vibrations from the blasts and of falling debris. The structures successfully prevented the almost 1,400 tons of debris from causing any gas leaks or communications service interruptions.

The properties of the soil and of the tires used for additional protection were established with simple on-site tests, and the validity of the scheme was established with a series of high-fidelity computer simulations that incorporated test results. Post-demolition clearing of debris showed that the temporary bridge behaved as designed and was in the condition predicted by pre-event analysis.

Completion Date: 2007
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Owner or Client: New Haven Coliseum Authority
Prime Consultant(s): Stamford Wrecking Company

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