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SHARON Viaduct implosion will be partially visible



Published: Sat, June 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The demolition contractor agreed to relax a rule that would have made it impossible to see the viaduct fall.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- People will be able to get at least a partial view of the Oakland Avenue Viaduct implosion next Saturday after all.

Mayor Robert T. Price said Friday that the demolition contractor has agreed to relax a rule that would have kept all spectators at least 1,000 feet from the bridge, making it impossible to see the structure fall because of the bends in the Shenango Valley Freeway below the structure.

The new distance is 700 feet, Price said, noting that the bridge still can't be seen from the east side at that distance but it can be partially viewed from the west side.

The 700-foot mark falls near the Black, Bashor and Porsch building on the freeway, he said.

"You'll be able to see half of it. If the leaves weren't on the trees, you could see it all," he said.

Time of blast: The contractor has set a 7:30 a.m. blast time, Price said, noting that the only thing that could halt the process at that point would be fog.

The city has sold tickets for the right to push the button setting off the explosion that will bring the 60-foot high concrete arch bridge crashing down onto the freeway.

That person will be stationed near the 700-foot distance mark on the freeway, Price said.

The city sold more than 3,000 tickets at $1 each with proceeds going to the Mercer County Unit of the American Cancer Society.

The mayor said he expects more than 1,000 people to turn out hoping to see the bridge fall. The freeway beneath the bridge will be protected with a thick layer of dirt.

The structure is owned by Mercer County but the cost of replacing it is being paid with $3.56 million in federal and state grants.




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