Thursday, October 13, 2016

Arkansas bridge survives controlled demo, has to be tugged down

Perhaps nothing will sum up the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department’s first effort to knock down a bridge on U.S. Highway 70 in Little Rock on Tuesday quite like their own tweet.

Indeed, the bridge still stood, despite a controlled demolition that was supposed to split it up like slices in a loaf of bread, according to AHTD spokesman Danny Straessle.
Straessle said rather than collapse, the bridge somehow bound up on itself, preventing it from collapsing into the Arkansas River.

“It just wasn’t going anywhere,” Straessle told Land Line in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Once they did an inspection, they decided they could lasso the bridge and pull it down with a barge.”

A video of the explosion, followed by the bridge remaining in place, has more than 445,000 views on YouTube, and was shared by national media outlets, including NPR.

The demolition contractor eventually used a tow rig and two tug boats to pull the bridge span down. Straessle said crews started working immediately to pull the wreckage out of the shipping channel.

The teardown of the Broadway Bridge is the first phase of a 180-day plan to build a new bridge in its place. Kansas City-based Massman Construction won the contract with a $98.4 million bid to replace the span in 180 days or less.

As far as the impact to truck traffic, Straessle says U.S. 70 “doesn’t have a lot of truck traffic” and that an alternative route into downtown via the Main Street Bridge nearby is open.