Igloo roof panel resists
Feb 01, 2012 (The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Civic Arena is putting up a fight.
"The old building does just not want to fall. It's a unique type of building," said George Boehm, vice president of Noralco Corp., which is overseeing demolition.
A stubborn roof panel at the Igloo resisted a full day of planning and pulling with a 95-foot-long excavator on Tuesday. The panel shook, but cable wires snapped during two attempts to bring it down.
The first try ended about 12:45 p.m. Several hours later, a second cable wire broke as the remotely controlled excavator, the largest anyone has in the area, Boehm said, pulled from inside the arena.
That was in contrast to Saturday, when the first panel fell with such ease that Boehm said it "floated" into the arena.
"There's more to this than there was to the other one on Saturday," he said.
The second panel has two problems. The top of it partially caved in during Saturday's demolition, which prevents workers from working near the panel's top section. The panel's bottom section is off the track used to open and close the arena's retractable roof, and won't budge.
The arena, which opened in 1961, is being demolished to open space for development. Crews are collapsing the panels onto the arena floor. The debris will be cut into pieces for removal. Each of eight steel panels weighs 250 tons, and seven remain.
"That's some good steel," said an admiring Michael Bianco, a steelworker from Hamilton, Ontario, who was visiting Pittsburgh with his wife and two children to see the Penguins play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Consol Energy Center, across the street.
The family spent about two hours standing on the sidewalk near the arena, waiting for the collapse that never came.
The demolition attracted endless stares from motorists and sentiment expressed by many who passed by on foot.
"It's a little heartbreaking to see it go," said Khalenna Yates of Wilkinsburg, who remembered seeing the circus and Disney on Ice at the arena as a child. Her 2006 graduation from Pittsburgh Allderdice High School also was held at the arena.
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