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SHARON Only 1 will have a blast



Published: Wed, June 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



No one will be allowed closer than 1,000 feet to the bridge when it falls.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- The person who gets to push the button to demolish the Oakland Avenue Viaduct will be determined next week..

The viaduct implosion is set for the morning of June 23, and the city has been selling raffle tickets at $1 each for the right to set off the blast.

Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Mercer County Unit of the American Cancer Society.

Tickets sold: Mayor Robert T. Price said more than 3,000 tickets have been sold so far and all ticket stubs must be turned in to the city by next Wednesday.

The drawing will be at 5 p.m. June 21, at the start of the city council meeting, he said.

Meanwhile, Price said he hasn't had any success in persuading the demolition company to allow spectators closer than 1,000 feet to the blast site.

Safe distance: That's considered the minimum safe distance, and the contractor isn't budging, Price said this morning.

"This stuff can fly when it comes down," Price said, explaining that, though the concrete bridge will be wrapped in safety material, it will be dropping from 60 feet onto the Shenango Valley Freeway and there is always a danger that concrete can break off and fly a considerable distance.

A layer of earth will be placed on the freeway to protect it.

Can't see: A lot of people who had wanted to see the viaduct fall will be disappointed, Price said, because the curve of the Shenango Valley Freeway will prevent anyone from seeing the blast.

The demolition contractor may allow remote cameras to be stationed closer to the site, the mayor said, adding that he will know more about that by the end of the week.




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