The historic Broadway bridge was scheduled for demolition today at 10 am to make way for the new bridge. After a series of controlled explosions this morning, however, the bridge failed to fall.
Officials with the construction team, Massman Construction out of Kansas City, says they placed over 6,000 blackcat firecrackers in strategic sections of the bridge that they believe would have taken down the structure.
“We wrapped it up tight with strings of firecrackers, which worked perfectly on our Lego set model that we created to test the process,” Massman construction foreman Chuck Jones tells us. “We are not really sure why the bridge did not fall. We are sending some guys up there to jump on it a bit and see if it will fall.”
The Broadway bridge was originally built in the 1920’s, however the steel arches that were part of the demolition today were added in the mid 1970’s. The structure was flagged for replacement following a nationwide inspection after a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed in 2007.
Massman was chosen by the Arkansas Highway Department as the construction team despite their lack of experience in a project this size due to their lowest cost and shortest completion bid. Much of the cost savings was due to their unique demolition method using firecrackers.
“We are confident that the bridge will fall eventually,” AHTD Director Scott Bennett says. “If additional methods continue to fail then we will just build the new bridge overtop of the existing structure.”
Construction crews say they will attempt again to demolish the bridge tomorrow, saying they will switch to M-80 fireworks which should bring the structure down. If that fails then they will shoot roman candles at the bridge for a 24 hour period.