The Milwaukee Bucks will blow the Bradley Center roof free from its supporting steel Sunday, dumping the massive structure into the seating bowl.
Sounds spectacular? Not so much, say the Bucks and the contractors supervising the demolition of the 30-year-old arena. A dust cloud might be the dramatic highlight, they say.
The Bucks have stressed that Sunday’s event using explosive charges is not an implosion of the building, but dropping the roof so that ironworkers don’t have to take it apart while working 100 feet above the ground.
A ring of explosive charges placed around the roof inside the building will be detonated at once. The roof will collapse into the seating bowl, parts “hinging” on the upper concourse, and parts winding up on the ground.
Workers have been demolishing the old arena from the inside and the roof implosion will be the first major step to tear the structure open to the elements. By spring, large cranes will be used to tear apart the structure from the outside, starting at the southwest corner.
The arena is being demolished following the opening of the $524 million Fiserv Forum, just north of the Bradley Center. The Bucks plan to redevelop the 7-acre site but haven’t announced details.
Sunday’s event is a big moment in the end of the Bradley Center and some people — downtown residents and others — are going to want to have a look.
Here’s what to expect:
Milwaukee police will close North Vel Phillips Avenue and West State Street near the Bradley Center. Barricades will be erected to prevent pedestrians from getting too close to the building.
The Bucks have not set a time for the detonation, but it’s expected to be around 9 a.m. There won’t be an advance alert issued or horn sounded — as has been the case in major building implosions.
It’s unlikely the detonation will be audible because the charges are placed inside the building.
Find a vantage point
Got a friend who lives at the Moderne? Invite yourself over and bring coffee cake.
You’ll want to be above the Bradley Center roof line because the roof is going into the bowl. It’s not like there will be debris shot into the air or tumbling off the building — at least that’s not expected.
“If you’re on an adjacent street, you won’t see anything at all,” said Mike Abrams of ICON, the Bucks owners’ representative.
Leave your drone at home
The Bucks have asked the FAA to declare a no-fly zone over the area. That means no drones and no TV news choppers are allowed.
The demolition will generate an “ambient dust cloud,” said Herb Pundsack, project manager for Veit, the company overseeing the demolition.
“There’s 22 years of dust and fingernails built up on those trusses,” he said at a recent meeting.
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