Bierlein begins power plant demolition

Demolition and remediation specialist Bierlein has begun the main demolition works at the James DeYoung Power Plant in Michigan, in the United States.

Bierlein excavators outside James DeYoun Power Plant Credit: USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect. Byline: Cody Scanlan/Holland Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Situated northeast of Chicago in the city of Holland, the coal-fired facility was closed for decommissioning in 2017 after being in operation for 78 years.

Bierlein was contracted to the project by turn-key consultancy ERM, on behalf of the Holland Board of Public Works (Holland BPW) - which is currently expecting the demolition phase to cost US$5.6 million, far below its allocated budget of $6.5 million. 

Bierlein is using a range of equipment, including high-reach excavators, to take down the main structure, which consists of concrete pier foundations, a steel structure and brickwork.

Prior to this the company removed and disposed of hazardous materials, such as asbestos and lead-based paints, from the site. While these remediation works began in February and were completed in April of this year, the current demolition works are not expected to be completed until the third quarter of 2023.

According to the plant’s owner Holland BPW, while the clearing of James DeYoung site is expected to be a catalyst for a major redevelopment of the area, demolition of the plant is not being carried out as part of any future sale of the site to a developer. 

The site has been the subject of several redevelopment plans since its closure, however despite a community engagement initiative leading to the creation of multiple concepts for its repurposing, none of the “proposed plans would’ve made use of the building”. 

“With each day that passes, the structure ages, increasing risks. So, demolishing the building is the prudent course of action for upholding safety, sustainability, and our commitment to the community to prepare the land for future use,” said Dave Koster, General Manager of Holland BPW.

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