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Explosives planted in the Coronado bridge

How ships will escape from the bay in case of sabotage

Special units of the Navy are trained to clear bridge debris in case of a collapse. - Image by Rick Geary
Special units of the Navy are trained to clear bridge debris in case of a collapse.

Dear Matthew Alice: When I was serving a sentence in the Navy in the ’70s, there was a salty rumor floating around that I accepted as gospel. First: The Coronado bridge is designed to float in case of a collapse so that the tugboats could easily unblock the channel leading out of the 32nd St. Naval Station. Second: The Strand is designed so explosive devices could be planted to blow away any sections of the roadway so that ships could escape directly to sea, therefore avoiding the floating bridge. What’s up, M.A.? — Rick in O.B.

Dear Matthew Alice: A friend of mine told me that the Coronado bridge and the Silver Strand are lined with explosives so that in case of war they can be blown up and the Navy ships can get out faster. Is this true? If so, is there any chance that we may accidentally be blown to bits while driving on the bridge? — Nicole Pfeiffer, Chula Vista

Personally, I’d be more concerned about bands of disgruntled Coronadans (Coronodoites? Coronodders?) sniping us off the span like tin cans off a fence. Most of the town has been unhappy about the bridge since San Diegans first started discussing it in the mid-1920s.

Even back then, the Navy had real concerns about ships being trapped in the harbor if the bridge were sabotaged. So of course, there’s a contingency plan. Special units of the Navy are trained to clear bridge debris in case of a collapse, and that does include placing explosives in predetermined locations to break up the fallen structure and make it easier to remove. All this was considered during the bridge design, but there’s no dynamite actually built into it.

As for rumors about blowing up the Strand, could they come from the on-again off-again discussions about cutting a channel across it so small boats can get in and out of the harbor faster? This is more a civilian than a.military plan, and for the moment, the Navy is against it. (Consider the size of the explosion required to blow a trench deep enough and wide enough for a carrier to make a quick exit.) So...the bridge won’t float if it falls. It won’t detonate on its own some lazy Sunday afternoon. The Navy won’t blow it up on purpose if it’s not already collapsed. And there are no immediate plans to blast a trench through the Strand. Just keep your eye on those deceptively blase civilians.

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Special units of the Navy are trained to clear bridge debris in case of a collapse. - Image by Rick Geary
Special units of the Navy are trained to clear bridge debris in case of a collapse.

Dear Matthew Alice: When I was serving a sentence in the Navy in the ’70s, there was a salty rumor floating around that I accepted as gospel. First: The Coronado bridge is designed to float in case of a collapse so that the tugboats could easily unblock the channel leading out of the 32nd St. Naval Station. Second: The Strand is designed so explosive devices could be planted to blow away any sections of the roadway so that ships could escape directly to sea, therefore avoiding the floating bridge. What’s up, M.A.? — Rick in O.B.

Dear Matthew Alice: A friend of mine told me that the Coronado bridge and the Silver Strand are lined with explosives so that in case of war they can be blown up and the Navy ships can get out faster. Is this true? If so, is there any chance that we may accidentally be blown to bits while driving on the bridge? — Nicole Pfeiffer, Chula Vista

Personally, I’d be more concerned about bands of disgruntled Coronadans (Coronodoites? Coronodders?) sniping us off the span like tin cans off a fence. Most of the town has been unhappy about the bridge since San Diegans first started discussing it in the mid-1920s.

Even back then, the Navy had real concerns about ships being trapped in the harbor if the bridge were sabotaged. So of course, there’s a contingency plan. Special units of the Navy are trained to clear bridge debris in case of a collapse, and that does include placing explosives in predetermined locations to break up the fallen structure and make it easier to remove. All this was considered during the bridge design, but there’s no dynamite actually built into it.

As for rumors about blowing up the Strand, could they come from the on-again off-again discussions about cutting a channel across it so small boats can get in and out of the harbor faster? This is more a civilian than a.military plan, and for the moment, the Navy is against it. (Consider the size of the explosion required to blow a trench deep enough and wide enough for a carrier to make a quick exit.) So...the bridge won’t float if it falls. It won’t detonate on its own some lazy Sunday afternoon. The Navy won’t blow it up on purpose if it’s not already collapsed. And there are no immediate plans to blast a trench through the Strand. Just keep your eye on those deceptively blase civilians.

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