By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Explosives brought a one kilometer section of Rio’s Elevado da Perimetral in five seconds on the morning of Sunday, November 24th. Located in Rio’s Port Zone, the section of the important highway was demolished by the city government at 7AM.
Approximately 1,200 pounds of explosives were used to destroy the section of road in order to make way for construction in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Rio de Janeiro mayor Eduardo Paes personally detonated the series of explosions. “The sun will come up and never leave the Rodrigues Alves,” Paes said of the avenue that ran underneath the Perimetral and for years had been covered by the now-destroyed highway. “There is still more to do in January and February. We will arrive at 2016 having made many transformations.”
The implosion brought down 232 steel beams, weighing more than five tons onto over 2,000 sand-filled tires placed under the overpass to cushion the falling debris.
A cloud of dust replaced what had once been the Perimetral, one of Rio’s most important arteries, after only five seconds. Paes said that the debris will be reused in future construction projects and the clean-up process should take approximately ninety days. The stretch was removed in order to open the area for the construction of an expressway which will link the South Zone’s Aterro do Flamengo (Flamengo Park), Avenida Brasil and the Rio-Niterói Bridge.
“We are creating important road alternatives, but more than that , it is high priority transport capacity,” Paes affirmed. “The VLT [Light Rail] is already being constructed, we will have a BRT [Bus Rapid Transit] coming and the improvements of the superhighway and subway. Improvements are coming to downtown Rio. We will face difficulty, a more difficult period. We ask locals to use public transportation. The car is not very well-liked in this project. We prioritize people walking the sidewalks.”
The remaining sections of the Perimetral are loosely scheduled to be demolished in January or February 2014.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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