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South Bay Power Plant implosion scheduled for Feb. 2

The South Bay Power Plant will be imploded on Saturday, Feb. 2, weather permitting, according to the Port of San Diego.

The demolition will open up land for a portion of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, a 556-acre development that calls for a convention center, hotels, residential complexes, commercial and retail storefronts and approximately 240 acres of parks and nature preserve.

The power plant is a 165-foot structure with an open steel framework surrounding boilers and turbines. Its main structure takes up around 13 acres on a 115-acre leasehold held by Port of San Diego tenant Dynegy South Bay LLC. It has been on the Chula Vista waterfront since the late 1950s and was fully shut down at the end of 2010.

The implosion is being carried out by the former plant operator Dynegy and has been approved by the California Coastal Commission and the city of Chula Vista.

"After a banner year for the bayfront in 2012, the implosion of the South Bay Power Plant is an event many Chula Vistans are looking forward to, and an excellent way to begin the new year," said Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox. "After the years of hard work that went into the approval of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan, the plant's removal will kickstart redevelopment plans as we look forward to further progress on what will become a world-class destination for the entire region."

The actual implosion event will take fewer than two minutes and will sound like rolling thunder with reverberations. A number of small, controlled explosive charges will be placed within the steel and concrete power block structure in order to bring it down. Heavy equipment will then be used to break up the structure.

The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals and up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, which will be recycled and salvaged when feasible, according to the Port.

“The removal of the South Bay Power Plant is a visual signal to the community of Chula Vista and the San Diego region that we are serious about bayfront redevelopment,” said Chair Ann Moore of the Board of Port Commissioners. “I am thrilled that we have finally set a date to bring down this huge industrial structure. I am even more pleased that we plan to replace it with a public park, as well as an RV park, that everyone will be able to enjoy.”

The implosion is scheduled for 7 a.m. A final decision on whether to proceed will be made that morning. The implosion will be carried out only under appropriate weather conditions, including wind speeds of 15 mph or less.

There will be a land and water perimeter set up to limit access around the site to protect the public. Details of the public viewing event will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the Port.

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