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The final 600-foot section of the 84-year-old Milton-Madison Bridge was demolished early Thursday, Sept. 19, with a series of controlled explosions.
Demolition experts were forced to move the timeline for the blast as a line of heavy showers was approaching from the north, according to Andrea Clifford, Public Information Officer for the Kentucky Department of Highways District 5 Office in Louisville. The plan was for a 9 a.m. blast to bring down the structure. Traffic to the new bridge, resting on temporary piers, was halted at 8:25 a.m. The last section of the old span, standing atop the original concrete piers, was demolished about five minutes later.
No sooner had the massive section of 85-ft tall steel buckled and settled into the riverbed and the smoke cleared away than the sprinkles of the approaching storm began to fall.
“If we hadn’t been able to get it done today we would have had to wait another week,” Clifford said as spectators near the east-end Madison city campground scampered for cover as the rain increased in intensity.
Following a post-explosion inspection of the new bridge, traffic flow resumed at about 9:25 a.m.
Pieces of the truss will be retrieved from the river, dismantled and sold for scrap.
Once the old truss is completely removed, the original piers will be widened to accommodate the new 40-foot-wide bridge, which is currently on temporary piers. The final step comes later this year, when the new bridge will be slid onto the renovated original piers.