One of America’s largest domed stadiums was imploded Monday morning as nearly 5,000 pounds of explosives blasted the Georgia Dome to smithereens, sending a massive plumes of smoke into the air.
The dome that opened in 1992 was flattened in 15 seconds at 7:30 am. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority said prior to the blast that it should take 12 seconds for the explosives to go off plus another 3 seconds for sections of grandstands to be on the ground.
The 71,250-seat dome — which was the site of high school football state championships, Peach Bowls, SEC championship games, two Super Bowls, 1996 Olympic basketball, three Final Four NCAA basketball tournaments, concerts, pro wrestling and other events — has been replaced by the $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium next door.
Officials said it will take around three months to completely clear the demolished site. It will be cleaned up and repurposed into a tailgating space for Mercedes-Benz Stadium that “will feature unique arts, entertainment and cultural experiences that will bring together local residents, as well as events honoring veterans and active members of the military.”
A 5-story tall industrial strength curtain between the two stadiums was set up to protect the new venue from damage, officials said. Only 83 feet — less than 30 yards — separates the two venues, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The new stadium is home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, who were former tenants at the Georgia Dome, and Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United.
In addition to the retractable roof that opens like a camera lens, Mercedes-Benz Stadium boasts a 1,100-foot “halo board” video display and a giant steel sculpture of a falcon with its 70-foot wingspan at one of the main entrances.
Several streets and parts of Atlanta’s transit system were closed, police said, as many of the city’s residents watched the blast against the early morning sky.
The idea for the Georgia Dome dates to the mid-1980s, when civic leaders recommended a domed football stadium adjoining the city’s largest convention center, the Georgia World Congress Center.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.