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SHARON BRIDGE Blast tickets are a hot item



Published: Tue, May 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



One man called from Arizona offering $1,000 for the right to push the button.

SHARON, Pa. -- Ticket sales for the chance to blow up the Oakland Avenue Viaduct are so hot that Mayor Robert T. Price has had to get more printed.

Mercer County owns the bridge spanning Pine Hollow Run and the Shenango Valley Freeway and is replacing it this summer.

It was Councilman George Gulla who came up with the idea to sell raffle tickets for the chance to push the button bringing down the 314-foot-long concrete structure, with proceeds going to charity.

Price ran with the idea, getting the Mercer County Unit of the American Cancer Society to serve as the beneficiary for the proceeds.

He had 5,000 tickets printed in late March, anticipating a mid-May implosion of the viaduct, but said this week that he's had to get 2,000 more printed.

The tickets are on sale at businesses across the city.

Price said he got a call from a man in Arizona who offered a $1,000 donation to the cancer society if he could be the one to push the button.

The mayor said he couldn't honor the request because tickets were already being sold. However, he did send the man 100 tickets in exchange for a check for $100 for the cancer society, he said.

What's planned: It now appears that May 19 will be the implosion date, the mayor said.

Arrangements are being made to allow the public to view the blast, he said.

The explosion will drop the bridge onto the four-lane freeway, which will be covered with a layer of sand and soil and a 4-foot cushion to protect the road.

The freeway will be closed for three or four days.




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