There’s no doubt that bridge demolitions by implosion are extremely fun to watch, but the fireworks show and big splash into the water below can sometimes overshadow other demolition projects that don’t allow implosion. Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) recently won two 2016 World Demolition Awards for one of those projects where implosion was not an option and they have also produced an incredibly detailed video of how they did it.
PDI is no stranger to planning and performing extremely well planned and executed demolition projects. One of our other favorite demolition videos came from them in 2015 when they demolished a highway overpass and completely cleaned up the road beneath in 10 hours. The company’s more recent demolition of the Nipigon River Bridge in Ontario, Canada did not afford them the luxury of performing the work from the ground, however, so they had to do some innovating.
The original Nipigon River Bridge was constructed in 1937 as a simple steel deck truss bridge. 37 years later, in 1974, steel girders replaced the truss and it had remained the same ever since. In 2013, a $106 project was started that would replace the old bridge with a new 4 lane bridge and close down the old one. PDI was contracted as the demolition company responsible for removing the old bridge.
The Nipigon River is the largest tributary of Lake Superior and, because of that, there were many environmental concerns for the river wildlife and surrounding habitats. Not only that, but the company had to worry about the recently constructed first half of the new bridge which sat directly adjacent to the old bridge. The old bridge stood 100 feet (30m) above the water and spanned 827 feet (252 meters). Without being able to disturb the water below, the team ultimately decided to jack the bridge up and use hydraulic rollers to move the girders off of the supporting piers and onto land.
The team faced some intense cold, during the project, with temperatures dropping as low as -18°F (-28°C), but they powered through in the week it took them to complete the job. Once a section of the bridge had reached land, sections were cut and immediately hauled off site. During day 2 of demolition, a long span of the girders was no longer going to be supported by the supports, so the weight of the bridge had to be supported by a series of cables and counterweights.
It was a pretty intense process and it’s clear that PDI takes their work seriously. They also take their marketing equally as seriously, as the produced an extremely detailed and high quality video of the full process of the job, which you can watch below. Their work was again validated as the took home the Civils Demolition Award and the World Demolition Award at the 2016 World Demolition Awards, which was held in Miami on October 14, 2016.