Explosive Infrastructure | Episode 3

02 of December of 2020

In this episode we take a look at two stories related to explosives and infrastructure. One for destruction, the other for construction.

At the beginning of the second World War, the Swiss found themselves surrounded by fighting in Europe. Although they had been officially neutral for more than 100 years, the military weren’t convinced the Germans wouldn’t invade. To help deter an invasion, they came up with a strategy of defense that included placing more than 3,000 demolition points on different bridges and tunnels across the country.

Fast forward to today and explosives are still being used in our infrastructure. But instead of preventing an invasion, they’re now being used as a form of innovation to make construction processes much more efficient.

After a number of fatal rockfalls on a notoriously dangerous stretch of road in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, the local community petitioned the government to connect the ring road that was being built around the island to the towns of El Risco and La Aldea. The decision was made to construct more than 8km of bridges and tunnels, and working in this difficult landscape under strict regulations brought about an innovation that had never been seen before in civil works in Spain: the team would be manufacturing their own explosives on-site.

This episode of Sounds Like Infrastructure was produced by Craig Lawless and Kevin Garcia King. Original music and editing by Craig Lawless. If you liked this episode, share it with your friends or go to our channel to listen to other cool stories!

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