Top demolition and recycling stories of 2022

By Lewis Tyler16 August 2022

It’s been a positive, yet challenging year for the demolition and recycling industries respectively. Having remained on top of projects during Covid, some manufacturers did encounter supply chain issues which has carried over to 2022. The war in Ukraine has also presented companies with new challenges that will likely continue throughout the foreseeable future.

So, as we come towards the final months of the year, Demolition and Recycling International looks at the top stories in the industry for 2022 so far.

5. Kiewit West carries out $60m bridge demolition
Gerald Desmon bridge in the Port of Long Beach, California Demolition of the Gerald Desmond Bridge (foreground) will begin in May. (IPhoto: Port of Long Beach)

Following the construction of a replacement bridge, demolition specialist Kiewit West were tasked with the demolition of the old Gerald Desmond Bridge at the Port of Long Beach in California.

Having been awarded the $59.9 million demolition contract in 2021, the US-based company started the project in May this year, with the full demolition of the bridge expected to be completed in 2023.

In its role, Kiewit West will dismantle and remove the structure’s main steel truss spans, steel plate girder approaches, abutments, columns, access ramps, foundations and other pieces of the Gerald Desmond Bridge.

All the metal and other materials removed from the old bridge will be transported to a recycling site for salvaging and reuse.

4. Vattenfall start dismantling Irene Vorrink Wind Farm
access drawbridge to one of the wind turbines at the Irene Vorrink Wind Farm Once demolition is finished, new turbines will replace the one’s removed from the site. (Photo: Vattenfall)

After 25 years of operation, the Irene Vorrink Wind Farm in the Netherlands has started to be dismantled by Swedish energy company Vattenfall.

In the early stages of the project, the company dismantled and removed the rotor, turbine blades, nacelle and the tower component of each of the wind turbines, of which there are 28 on the site.

Work started in early March and some aspects of it could take until 2030 to be fully completed, with the recycling of the blades expected to be a particularly complicated process.

Following the dismantling of the farm, plans are being put together to replace the existing turbines.

3. Engineered Rigging plays key role in bridge demolition

Work to dismantle and remove the Wittpenn Bridge in New Jersey started earlier this year, with the help of heavy lifting experts Engineered Rigging. The structure, which was built 90 years ago, required the Arkanas-based company to utilise its design, fabrication and heavy lifting expertise to assist a contractor throughout the demoliton process. 

The work included lowering two counterweights estimated to weigh nearly 450 t each and a 63 m (209 ft) long vertical lift span weighing nearly 900 t. The decision to demolish the bridge came after the New Jersey Department of Transportation decided that a new one that produced less traffic and a safer crossing was required. 

According to Engineered Rigging, the project is just the start of a forecast surge in civil infrastructure projects including bridge repair, construction and demolition.

2. Case Construction Equipment gives first look at electric excavator

Case Construction Equipment provided the first glimpse of its mini excavator offering at the CNH Industrial Capital Markets Day event.

The event, which took place in February at Miami Beach, Florida, saw the Italy-based company exhibit its 1.3 t mini excavator the Case CX15 EV. The machine is powered by a 16 kW electric motor and its 21.5 kWh lithium-ion battery is charged either by the 110V/220V on-board charger, or via an external charger that the company say can charge within 90 minutes.

CASE-CX15-EV-Mini-Excavator The Case CX15 EV electric mini excavator had its first showing in the US and is planned to reach the European market next year. (Photo: Case Construction Equipment)

The Case CX15 EV is expected to be released into the European market by 2023.

1. Power plant closures a ‘billion-dollar’ opportunity for US demolition

Scott Laird, project and business development manager of Independence Excavating has called the Environmental Protection Agency’s findings that over 20 power plants should close in the next 10 years a ‘billion-dollar’ opportunity for US demolition.

Power plant in the U.S The Environmental Protection Agency has called for over 20 plants to be closed in the next ten years, which could present an opportunity for the demolition sector. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Speaking at the US National Demolition Association (NDA) Convention and Expo in June, Laird said that the US demolition sector could be in a good place to benefit from the closures, and that it is the industry’s responsibility to “do it right.”

Laird said: “In power plants alone, you are going to see a couple of billion dollars’ worth of work for the demolition industry. It’s upon us to do it, do it right and be safe.” 

Should the power plants be closed in the coming years, it would add a significant boost to the industry, which Laird claims is already benefitting from stable pricing and a high amount of projects. 

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