Why demolishing the Dome would be so expensive

This Chron story is primarily about what a bunch of notable people would like to see happen to the Astrodome. That isn’t terribly interesting to me, but it did contain this tidbit, which answers a question I’ve wondered about and which has come up a few times in the comments here:

But the Dome is also a mess right now, full of deadly asbestos, molds, a whole geological stratum’s worth of dust and who knows what else. But that nasty stew, ironically, may be its ultimate salvation. Although they blew up Texas Stadium for about $7 million, the figure for leveling the Dome is said to be in excess of $100 million, and that gives even the most ardent Dome-sayer pause.

Why so much? Even after the asbestos is removed, the tremors caused by imploding it could damage Reliant Stadium, so a “piece by piece dismantling” will be required, explains Narendra Gosain, a senior principal with Walter P. Moore, the firm originally responsible for the Dome’s structural design. Walter P. Moore also consulted when San Antonio took apart the Hemisfair Arena, which Gosain calls a “mini-Astrodome.”

Explosives couldn’t be used on that venue, either, because of how close it stood to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

“The frame was the same, just much smaller,” Gosain said, “and it required a very slow, painstaking process.”

So there you have it. If this weren’t the case, it wouldn’t have surprised me for the Dome to have been demolished as part of the Reliant Stadium construction, or perhaps shortly afterward once Reliant fully took over Rodeo duties. But thanks to the asbestos, the Dome is still with us. And we’re still trying to figure out what to do with it.

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