Successful Decommissioning and Demolition of Two FirstEnergy Power Plants

Shadyside & Cleveland, Ohio

In April of 2015, Independence Excavating (IX) assembled bids on six coal fired power plants slated for decommissioning and demolition by FirstEnergy. IX teamed with Bet-Tech Construction Company to utilize the Bet-IX Joint Venture’s shared pool of equipment resources, financing ability and thus the capability to present the most viable options. Bet-IX was ultimately selected as the contractor to perform the work on the only two plants that FirstEnergy decided to award — the R.E. Burger and Lake Shore Power Stations.


The Burger plant, located on the Ohio River in Shadyside, Ohio, was the largest of the plants and was to be demolished first. Bet-IX teamed up with IX’s sister company, Precision Environmental (PE), to perform the large amount of asbestos abatement required. Originally bid with an (18) month schedule, the awarded schedule was compressed down to (12) months to help facilitate future redevelopment plans for the site. This plant was massive, including 45,000 - 50,000 GT of total scrap and an 854' tall concrete stack. Performing the job safely despite the size, schedule constraints and difficulty was our #1 goal throughout, and we are extremely proud to have accomplished this task without a single recordable or lost time incident!

Due to the accelerated schedule, IX and PE had to phase the work to be able to overlap our durations in the main plant complex, as well as work extensive overtime and commit large amounts of resources to get the job done in time. This presented additional obstacles to overcome by all parties involved, and keeping everyone working safely required more attention than ever. The field crews and site management were able to overcome every obstacle that was thrown at them, and we were able to get the job done ahead of FirstEnergy’s needs for the site.

While impressive throughout, the most visible, and scrutinized, aspect of the demolition was the explosive felling of the 854' stack and the tallest steel structure housing the two largest boilers. Successfully completed in July 2016, Bet-IX teamed with Dykon Explosive Demolition who provided their extensive knowledge and experience to perform the explosive work. Being located directly adjacent to the Ohio River, coordination for this blast included many different authorities from both Ohio and West Virginia as well as federal agencies including the FAA and the U.S. Coast Guard. All parties involved were committed to ensuring the blast went off smoothly and safely, and we were glad to have this level of support from all entities involved in this work.

While we were glad to turn the site back over to FirstEnergy for the planned redevelopment, we had already turned our focus to the next big plant…Lake Shore.


Sitting just east of downtown Cleveland and looming over I-90 and the shoreline of Lake Erie, the Lake Shore Plant has been an unmistakable part of the skyline for nearly 100 years. Unlike the Burger plant’s wide open and isolated site, this plant was hemmed in on all sides. While not as large at 25,000 - 30,000 GT, this was still the second largest power plant we’ve ever performed and it presented a completely different set of obstacles.

With FirstEnergy being actively involved with the City of Cleveland to look at potential redevelopment opportunities, we were fortunate to be able to tackle this project with more time available. Precision Environmental was able to successfully perform an even larger amount of asbestos abatement prior to the start of structural demolition by IX’s crews. Once the demolition began, our crews worked to systematically demolish the main plant from West to East up to the largest boiler structure and the concrete stack.

The stack, well-known home to peregrine falcons who were relocated prior to work, was to be explosively felled along with the Unit 18 boiler structure similar to the work performed at Burger. Bet-IX again teamed with Dykon for this difficult task. The close proximity of the I-90 corridor and the need to minimize impacts to the traveling public ended up requiring this work to be completed at night — an unprecedented condition. Working closely and with much support from FirstEnergy, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Fire Department, Cleveland Police Department, ODOT, Cleveland MetroParks, US Coast Guard, FAA and others, we were not only able to accomplish this blast as a complete success, but did it several days early in order to avoid a strong thunderstorm front that would have threatened the project. Considering that the work was done in February in Cleveland on the shoreline of Lake Erie with all the unpredictable weather that comes with it, we couldn’t have been happier!

Throughout the course of these projects, Bet-IX teamed with many other subcontractors and suppliers including EnviroServe, ALL Erection, Ohio-West Virginia Excavating, United Rentals, Kurtz Bros., Waste Management and many other local vendors, contractors, scrap & salvage buyers, and transportation brokers. Bet-IX is now winding down this second site with final scrap preparation/shipment and site restoration work underway. Successfully performing this kind of work is always hard earned and should never be taken for granted. A well-deserved, big “THANK YOU” goes out to all the crews, managers, support personnel, subcontractors and suppliers involved!!!

FirstEnergy R.E. Burger Plant Demolition
FirstEnergy Lake Shore Power Plant Demolition

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