Second bridge implosion set for 9 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 1

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By Dave Taylor

The demolition of a second section of the old US 421 Milton-Madison Bridge has been scheduled for Thursday morning, Aug. 1, at 9 a.m., according to a spokesperson for the Milton-Madison Bridge Project.

The second blast had been expected tomorrow, according to Lisa A. Kelly, President of Advanced Explosives Demolition Inc., the Idaho-based subcontractor in charge of imploding the 1929 bridge structure. But word came Monday from the public relations firm representing the Milton-Madison Bridge Project that the second implosion would be delayed because salvage operations to clear steel debris from the river bottom after last week’s blast took longer than expected.

Early Tuesday, Doe-Anderson, the Louisville firm handling public relations for the bridge reconstruction issued the following statement:

“Due to the extra time necessary to retrieve the truss from the river during the first span demolition, the U.S. Coast Guard has asked for a review of demolition procedures prior to the second blast. Once the review is complete, a new demolition date will be announced. In order to prevent a similar issue with the next span demolition, extra equipment will be brought in to remove the truss.”

Omega Demolition had expected to clear the river’s primary navigational channel of bridge debris within 24 hours after a series of explosions brought down a 700-ft section of the old span, according to a press release issued shortly after last Tuesday’s blast. Observers noted, however, that salvage operations to clear the channel required several days to complete.

The Trimble Banner also learned from Doe-Anderson that a worker for subcontractor Omega Demolition was injured last Wednesday morning as heavy equipment was being used to retrieve pieces of the demolished truss from the river. He was hospitalized overnight and then released. Omega company officials had not responded to an inquiry regarding the incident and the employee’s condition by press time.

Retrieval of bridge debris from last week’s demolition operation was slowed when salvage crews discovered that some of the truss sections had become tangled at the bottom of the navigational channel, a situation that hampered its removal.

A 550-foot long section nearest to the Milton, Ky. shore will be the next truss section to be brought down tomorrow using controlled explosives. As with the first blast of a 700-ft section of truss last week, AED crews will place a series of small linear shaped charge explosives weighing a few ounces each at critical locations on the structure. These charges detonate at intervals to dominate the direction of fall.

The demolition will require the closure of the new bridge starting at 9:00 a.m. on August 1. Other roads within the designated safety perimeter will also be closed. The new bridge and surrounding roads are expected to reopen to traffic at or before 11:00 a.m.

River traffic will be closed starting at 9:00 a.m. and will reopen at or before 11:00 a.m.Recreational boaters are required to stay 1,000 feet from the bridge during the blast. An FAA no-fly zone of 2,000 feet will be in effect prior to and during the blast.

The remainder of the 2,427-foot-long bridge will be demolished in a series blasts about seven days apart over the next several weeks. 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.