In the end, the stubborn stadium's upper level finally succumbed to explosive demolition at 4 pm eastern time on Dec. 4.
When crews detonated explosives attached to structural supports of the top ring of the Pontiac Silverdome on Dec. 3, hundreds watched with rapt attention. The stadium that formerly hosted Wrestlemania III and Detroit Lions home games, however, refused to cooperate as the upper ring did not budge.
“What happened (on Sunday) was we had the columns set with kickers and we had the eight main steel supports set with shaped charges,” says Rick Cuppetilli, executive vice president of Detroit-based Adamo Group Inc., the demolition contractor which also brought down the Georgia Dome recently.
“The shaped charges were supposed to cut the steel supports and then the kickers do their job and down it goes," says Cuppetilli. "For some reason, the eight shaped charges had something wrong with their detonation cord. We still don’t know what. The kickers all went off but without the cutting of the steel, the structure wasn’t going to come down. Today, we rewired the shaped chargers, tried again and the whole thing came down.”
Excavators will clean up the debris, break and pulverize the interior bowl and clear the site next. Cuppetilli said a bit more of the interior came down than was planned in the second blast, which successfully brought down the upper ring of the stadium.
The Silverdome has not hosted any events since a 2013 roof collapse and was demolished to make way for a mixed-use development.