“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.
On Monday morning, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that was being prepped for demolition suddenly collapsed, injuring one Project Manager that was struck by debris.
In January of 2018, ten construction workers were killed and another eight were injured when a bridge spanning the Chirajara canyon in Columbia partially collapsed. That collapse has since been blamed on a poor design, reports have stated. Last week, the remaining sections of the bridge were demolished in dramatic fashion.
A couple weeks ago, we shared a list of the 100 tallest buildings to ever be demolished. One of the most interesting things that I learned while researching for that article was that although Detroit’s Greater Department Hudson Store was not the tallest building on the list (it was #21), it was the tallest on the list to actually be imploded.
In February, JP Morgan Chased announced their plans to demolish their current 52-story headquarters located in Manhattan. Turns out, when that demolition is complete, it will also break the record for the tallest building ever voluntarily demolished.
One thing’s for sure, the only thing better than one structure being demolished is two structures being demolished at the same time. Late last week, a decommissioned Florida Power Plant saw to the implosion of two 462 feet tall cooling towers in spectacular fashion.
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.