Arena site demolition ‘going as planned’ as debris piles up, gets trucked out

With remarkable speed, the eastern half of Downtown Plaza is being reduced to a pile of rubble and recycling materials.

A media tour of the Sacramento Kings arena site Thursday showed the amount of progress that’s been made exactly one week after demolition began at the shopping mall.

The plaza’s southernmost building, at Fifth and L streets, is completely gone. The building immediately to the north consists of a mere concrete shell, with stray pieces of insulation and copper wire dangling from the ceilings. Bobcats are pushing enormous piles of debris out of a square hole cut into the former Macy’s men’s store, in the southeastern corner of the plaza. That building will start coming down in about two weeks, said project manager Gary Ralls of Turner Construction Co.

“We’re on schedule and doing very well,” Ralls said. “Things are going as planned.”

Demolition is scheduled to be complete in September. After that, several months will be spent laying the foundation, and then the “actual erection of steel” will begin next February or March, Ralls said.

The $477 million arena is scheduled to open in October 2016.

Ralls gave reporters a sense of the breadth of the project. By the time the demolition is complete, trucks will have hauled away 80,000 tons of concrete, 4,000 tons of steel and 14,000 tons of wood, insulation and other materials.

Practically everything is being fed into giant conveyor belts at the corner of Fifth and L, where materials are sorted and shredded. The wood, insulation and other materials are being hauled to two area landfills, Recology in Vacaville and L & D Landfill in Sacramento. The concrete will be crushed and turned back into usable material at three area companies: Teichert, Bell Marine and Crete Crush.

Steel, copper and other metals will be recycled as well, Ralls said.

He said state law requires recycling of at least 50 percent of construction waste; Turner’s goal on this project is at least 75 percent.

New construction equipment is delivered to the site almost daily. A giant excavator, so big it arrived in pieces and is being assembled at the plaza, has been brought in for the tear-down of the larger buildings.

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