“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.