“They don’t build ‘em like they used to,” as people love to say. That phrase could definitely be applicable to the 93 year old Broadway Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas, that refused to fall even after it was lined with explosives. This certainly isn’t the first time a demolition has failed and it’s probably not the last.
Bridges are being demolished and replaced all across the country, due to America’s increase of failing infrastructure, which is leading to the development of some interesting time saving techniques in certain areas. After being deemed structurally deficient in 2010, plans began to replace the old Broadway Bridge and on September 28, 2016, the bridge was officially closed. On Tuesday, October 11, it was officially time for Little Rock residents to say goodbye to the trusted bridge, but they were given a few more hours than expected.
After structurally weakening the steel bridge, explosive were strategically placed throughout the structure. As the fireworks started, there were some cheers from the crowd, followed by plenty of laughs, as the smoke cleared and the bridge was still left standing. According to reports, the explanation given for the failure was that the bridge collapsed into itself. Nevertheless, the crews from Massman Construction had to get to work to make sure the bridge fell, as it could have been a major safety hazard. The crews brought in a crane to help nudge the structure into the water. 5 hours later, the structure had fallen and the deadline to clean up the bridge started.
The now demolished bridge is being replaced by a new one to connect downtown Little Rock to North Little Rock. Massman was awarded the project for $98.4 million, which was the low bid, but also resulted in the shortest schedule. The bridge will only be closed for a total of 6 months, even after initial estimates were 2 years.
You can watch 3 different videos of the demolitions below. The first, by Robert Cossio, shows the failed demolition. The second, by voigtlanderr2, shows the crane in the water forcing the structure to fall 5 hours later. The third, by Ben P, is a true test of endurance, as it’s the entire 5 hour live stream of the demolition process.
Demolitions by implosion seems like the easiest way to knock down a structure, but there is so much preparation that goes into it that even the slightest mistake can have a huge impact. When smokestacks are demolished correctly, it can be a thing of beauty, like when these two silos in Scotland hit each other midair or when this asbestos filled stack was precisely demolished to fall into a pool of water. Things didn’t go so smoothly for demolition crews in Denmark last week, however.
As we’ve seen in the past, demolitions aren’t all about implosions. There are still many manual demolitions that are carried out by skilled excavator operators. The Victoria Street Bridge in Ontario, Canada is a recent example of that.
It’s been a while since we have shared a demolition video on Construction Junkie. We recently discussed a very high profile demolition project, the tallest voluntary demolition on record, which is schedule to start next year and how it is expected to happen, but no videos. Between the cold weather in most of the country and the general lack of interesting demolitions happening, it’s good to finally be back to feeling normal around here.
A couple weeks ago, JP Morgan Chase announced that they planned to demolish their existing 52-story Manhattan headquarters, which is believed to be the tallest voluntary demolition in history, in order to build a 70 story, 2.5 million square foot building in its place. The move left preservationists upset at the idea of scrapping the nearly 60 year old building and others wondering how exactly they were going to safely demolish a building that tall in such a congested and busy area.
This year saw more videos with environmental considerations taken into account, especially over waterways. Instead of imploding entire bridges, the part that spanned over top of the waterway were manually removed. I've also grown an appreciation for in-depth footage of demolitions that occurred under some interesting conditions. Some of the videos below show some extreme creativity to overcome obstacles.
On Sunday, demolition contractors tried to bring down the upper portion of the Pontiac Silverdome, former home to the Detroit Lions, but several of the explosives didn’t ignite and the structure was still upright after the smoke cleared. After videos of the failed demolition were posted online, the internet had a field day.
The Pontiac Silverdome was the home to the NFL’s Detroit Lions from 1975-2001 and NBA’s Detroit Pistons from 1978-1988. After the Lions opened their new Stadium in 2002, the Silverdome was passed around several times before it closed for the last time in 2013. Earlier this year, the building was condemned and the first round of demolition by implosion was scheduled for Sunday, December 3.
Getting the perfect view of a major building demolition can get you millions of hits, or even better, shared by us right here on Construction Junkie. Have your video get epic-ly photobombed and you’ll get even more views and definitely shared by us.
I don’t think there is anyone in the construction industry that has a better marketing department than Priestly Demolition, a demolition specialty contractor based in Ontario, Canada. Their Youtube channel is filled with high quality demolition videos in the form of timelapse videos and even a 24 minute long, highly detailed video of a bridge demolition so impressive it won awards for best in the world. Implosion videos are a great source of entertainment in their own right, but the videos that Priestly put out are not only entertaining, but also great for education purposes.
For almost 80 years, the Old Kosciuszko Bridge connected Brooklyn and Queens in New York. Much like many other bridges its age, it is being replaced due to capacity issues and deterioration. When it was completed in 1939, it was built for 10,000 cars per day. Unfortunately for the people who needed to use that bridge that past few decades, around 180,000 cars used it.