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CO Bridge Section Collapses During Demolition

Friday, August 18, 2017

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A section of a bridge that was being demolished as part of a replacement project unexpectedly collapsed Tuesday (Aug. 15) in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, reportedly damaging part of the new bridge that’s meant to take its place.

Crews were working on removing the old Grand Avenue Bridge, which carries state Route 82 over the Colorado River, a set of railroad tracks and Interstate 70, when an entire span—including about 16 tons of steel—fell to the ground, covering the tracks. A 95-day shutdown of Route 82, which provides access to Glenwood Springs from I-70, had begun Monday; the mishap will likely result in delays.

A camera set up by Colorado Mountain College caught the collapse on video.

Officials credited safety protocols for the fact that no workers were injured in the incident, but the Post Independent reports that two concrete columns that had already been placed for the new bridge were damaged.

Initial Reports

The newspaper reports that crews were attempting to bring down one of the six girder sections of the span when the support pier came down, bringing the entire span with it. A team of engineers assessed the state of the remaining section of the bridge and in a statement late Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Transportation said the bridge was determined to be stable.

The exact cause of the failure has not been determined.

“You plan the deconstruction process as best you can, but events like this are not unusual or unexpected when you are taking down large, old structures like the bridge,” said Tom Newland, Grand Avenue Bridge Public Information Manager.

CDOT officials told reporters that demolition contractors will use a different method to take down the span over I-70, a plan that’s been in place since before Tuesday’s incident.

About the Project

The Grand Avenue Bridge project is a five-phase, $126 million project expected to take 30 months. The current work is part of Phase 3. The demolition has required overnight closures of I-70 in addition to the long-term closure of Route 82 itself.

The Granite/RL Wadsworth Joint Venture is the lead contractor for the project.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Bridges; Demolition; Girder; Health & Safety; NA; North America

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