LPAR Facility

LPAR Facility

"The Silver Castle Award is presented to Controlled Demolition, Inc. for exceptional sensitivity and professional in completing the politically sensitive demolition and removal of the former Soviet military’s Large Phased Array Radar Facility in Skrunda,Latvia. The project was completed ahead of schedule, within budget and to the customer’s satisfaction. Your skill in expediting this important Partnership for Peace project in a new and challenging environment reflects great credit on the dedication and professional of all who contributed to its success."

John Gates, Colonel, Engineering Commanding
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The second tallest building in Latvia and twenty-four other structures were carefully demolished at a large phase array radar (LPAR) facility in the middle of an active Russian military base in Skrunda, Latvia. When finished, the nearly-completed, over-the-horizon system was to become the mainstay of Russia’s central European early warning system for nuclear attack. The complex was demolished as a result of President Clinton’s commitment to help the Latvian government comply with a treaty involving the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, MD, used both conventional and implosion methods to demolish the facility. The contract included the implosion of a 19-story receiver building. Conventional demolition methods were then used to destroy an 800,000 square foot, 8-story transmitter building, a transmitter utility structure, a receiver utility building, a guard house, two warehouses, an ancillary installation building, two transformer substations, a fire station, a neutralizer facility foundation and 25 large, underground tanks. Recyclable materials were processed for scrap, including 22,000 pounds of steel, 250 tons of aluminum, and 75 tons of copper. In addition, 5.5 miles of underground cable trench were removed, collapsing the maze of underground tunnels which had connected the buildings.

Environmental Issues Paramount
A variety of hazardous materials were removed from site, including asbestos, transformer oil (PCB), and 23 tons of lead battery plates. All hazardous materials were disposed of off-site, in compliance with Latvian laws and regulations. Where Latvian environmental regulations did not exist, U.S. regulations were enforced. Once the structures were demolished to one-meter below grade and the site was environmentally secure, the land was covered with sand to prepare it for safe agricultural use for local farmers.

True Partnership for Peace

CDI has taken down thousands of structures worldwide over the firm’s 50 years in business. However, this project offered an opportunity to destroy a military installation while promoting friendship with the Latvian community in Skrunda. Mark Loizeaux, President of Controlled Demolition states, "We brought computers for use in the local schools, we met with students to help them understand what we were doing, we repaired the City Hall, a church, and the local waterworks; we gave the community construction materials and tools to repair other city structures. We provided full-time jobs for over 100 local people and daily meals for the employees. No one in Skrunda spoke English, so we offered them training programs conducted in both Latvian and Russian languages. After work, we even played football with the Russian soldiers. Even though they always beat us, it was an unforgettable experience."

Schedule Cut in Half
Although the $6.2 million demolition project was scheduled to be completed in a ten-month time frame, CDI completed the work in just five months. "We were able to cut the schedule in half by employing aggressive Western demolition practices and importing large, specialty demolition equipment," states Loizeaux. Six hydraulic excavators, a 100-ton link belt crane, three end-loaders, and four 40-ton tractor trailers were imported from CDI’s London associates, CDI, UK Ltd.

A 300-foot-tall, 19-story receiver building and 24 other military structures dominated the Skrunda, Latvia skyline.

Today, the buildings are gone, the site is environmentally sound and the land has been restored for agricultural use.

CDI managed the Department of Defense project under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Transatlantic Programs Center. The team included seven Latvian companies and 400 local Latvian workers, during peak employment.