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Blasted Bridge Stays Strong

Friday, October 14, 2016

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When you want to bring a bridge down fast, strategically placed explosives can get the job done in a matter of seconds. Usually.

Despite being deemed structurally deficient, a portion of the 93-year-old Broadway Bridge in Little Rock, AR, didn’t go down without a fight, the Associated Press reported Tuesday (Oct. 11).

All explosive charges went off at 10 a.m. Tuesday as planned. However, after the smoke cleared, viewers and workers discovered that the span remained fully upright, according to the local ABC affiliate.


Instead of the steel falling into the river as intended, the severed pieces of the bridge fell into one another, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) said.

What should have taken 30 seconds ultimately took nearly five hours as the demolition crew ended up having to attach cables to pull the structure down manually. But even that took eight attempts before the steel hit the water at 2:50 p.m., ABC 7 said.

"Construction is not a perfect science, if you will. Things happen. They will happen. They do happen and today, it did happen," AHTD spokesperson Danny Straessle told Nexstar Broadcasting.

Crowds were amused by the failed first attempt, and the AHTD Twitter feed also found some humor in the event, first tweeting “Well, that didn't go quite as planned....” with the hashtag #TheDayTheBridgeStoodStill and a photo of the stubborn structure.


Later it updated followers to let them know that “Persistence pays off!” with a photo of the falling arch.

And the Work Goes On

Although crews eventually got the bridge down, their work isn’t over. Three more implosions will occur as the $98.4 million bridge replacement project continues.

Although work officially began in January 2015, AHTD says crews have now entered a phase where the contractor, Kansas City, MO-based Massman Construction Company, must remove the old structure and replace it with a new bridge that must open to traffic in 180 days or less. The clock began ticking on them Oct. 1.

The Broadway Bridge, which opened on Christmas Day in 1923, officially closed to traffic and was decommissioned Sept. 28.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Bridges; Demolition; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Infrastructure; Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Roads/Highways; Steel

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