I began to write this post at 7:13 am on May 12th. Exactly one week from now, the last of the dust cloud from Martin Tower’s implosion will be settling and the Bethlehem skyline will be forever changed.
It has been a busy week with preparations and announcements being made. I am only going to present the key facts here for those who plan to see the implosion firsthand, but I will link to full information for others who need it.
- Martin Tower’s demolition is set for May 19th at 7:00 am.
- 69News will have live coverage starting at 6:00 am on 69 WFMZ-TV.
- The implosion will be done by Controlled Demolition, Inc. from Phoenix, Maryland.
- The 21-story tower will fall in the southeast direction, away from Eight Avenue.
- The red line on the map below delineates the exclusion zone. No members of the public will be allowed within the boundaries during the Martin Tower implosion.
Road closure timeline:
- 5:00 am Bethlehem Police will close Eighth Avenue from Union Boulevard to Bradford Street.
- 5:00 am Bethlehem Police will close Eaton Avenue from Elizabeth Avenue to Ralston Road.
- 5:00 am Bethlehem Police will close Route 378 North and South Exit Ramps at Eighth Avenue.
- 6:00 am the Exclusion Zone surrounding the site will be closed to the public.
- 6:30 am Bethlehem Police will begin closing Route 378 from Catasauqua Road to the Main Street Ramp.
- 7:00 am approximately, as safety and preparations permit, Martin Tower will be demolished by implosion.
- 7:10 am an assessment will be made by members of the project team to determine clean up activities prior to opening any roadways. Any unaffected roadways will be reopened after inspection by Bethlehem Police Department.
- It is estimated that by mid-morning all public rights of way will be open and the exclusion zone lifted.
Links to further information:
- City of Bethlehem’s Martin Tower Info & Updates
- Martin Tower implosion details from city officials
- Martin Tower dust – notice to adjacent properties
Over the next week, you will hear the officials say over and over that “the best place to to view the implosion is from the comfort of your own home watching it on television.” But truly there is nothing like being there in person for it – the anticipation, the shock as the first detonation shatters the morning’s silence, the thundering booms that beat at your chest, the tearing of concrete and metal as the building succumbs to gravity, and the roar of the crowd as the dust cloud billows up.
Experience it in person:
Everyone must decide their own best place to watch from. I won’t recommend specific spots if you come out in person, that’s for you to decide. But having been to quite a few implosions now, I can offer the following tips:
- Select a viewing spot ahead of time, and have an alternate or two in mind. It’s best if you’re somewhere that isn’t looking into the rising sun.
- Be aware of street closure locations and times. You may have to take a different route than you normally would.
- Arrive early! Things can change, officials might decide to not let you stand where you thought you could, crowds might overwhelm your first pick, etc. Arriving early gives you time to adapt.
- Be safe. The exclusion zone is in place for a reason. Stay behind police barriers at all times.
- Be respectful. There’s plenty of room for everyone to watch from. Don’t block the view of others, especially those trying to get photos and videos of the blast.
- Bring a dust mask. Even if you’re upwind from the building when you arrive, winds can change, especially with the tumultuous Pennsylvania weather patters of the last few years.
- Prepare for rain. Implosions will happen rain or shine, unless there is lightning or fog. Have a rain jacket and means to protect photo and video equipment from the rain. We’re hoping for clear skies, but Pennsylvania has been disappointing us most days in this regard.
- Have a blast! This is an exceptionally rare event in the Lehigh Valley, and for many it will be a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.