Broadway bridge implosion just the beginning of months-long work

Cleanup begins after delayed implosion

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- It took a bit longer than expected, but the Broadway Bridge finally came down. The destruction of the old bridge, however, is just beginning of the work.

“There is barge traffic that is backed up on the river right now, waiting for it to open back up,” said Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

To get all those ships, and all the money they bring, through town, the steel arches that came down Tuesday have to be gone by 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“They don’t have to get it out of the river, they just have to get it out of the (navigation) channel,” Straessle explained. “So basically, they’re just gonna grab it and drag it to the side.”

The construction team got to work immediately after the implosion, and a crowd stayed through the evening to see what they would do next.  What they will hear next will be the implosion of the three concrete arches that held up the old bridge.

“Hopefully, by the end of the week, we’ll see other detonations of those arches,” Staessle stated. “I don’t know that it’ll be all three of them, one or two, or how that will come to be.”

The new bridge will be safer, will include a 16-foot-wide lane for cyclists and pedestrians, and will provide more space for ships to pass under.  Once the old concrete is gone, people will get to see the new bridge come to life.

“What you will see is those columns continue to rise up out of the river,” Straessle mentioned.  “The horizontal cap will be placed on those.  Those caps are what the new arches that are being constructed on the North Little Rock side will rest on.

The two new arches have caught the public’s eye for a while, as construction has slowly progressed.  Massman Construction, the contractor building the new bridge, hopes to float those arches into place in November.

“Now that’s tricky,” Straessle noted.  “Because November is our wettest month, there’s usually a higher river flow, and you’re pushing the broad side of the barge against the flow of the river.”

Because the conditions on the river could be bad, Straessle estimated that it might take 12 hours to move each of the arches into place, so they would not provide quite as fun an experience as the failed implosion of the old steel arch did.


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