Tentative plans call for a Thursday, April 4, implosion of the old Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River.
Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Area Engineer Judy Wagner stated the demolition is planned for 9:30 a.m. that day, depending on a number of factors.
The bridge will be taken down by Marschel Wrecking, LLC, Fenton. Plans call for the entire 2,500-foot-long bridge span to be taken down with one blast.
A pre-blast meeting was held Tuesday with representatives from Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Marschel Wrecking, the city of Washington, the Washington parks department and Washington Fire Department.
According to Wagner, there are several factors that have to be considered up to the date of the implosion, including precipitation amounts.
Wagner noted that it will take six days to pack the explosives, The river gauge can read no higher than 17-18 feet when the packing begins.
“After the packing begins the blast has to occur,” she stated. “The only thing that will stop it is lightning — they will work in the rain.”
There will be 24-hour security patrolling the bridge during the packing process.
She added there will be closures to the new bridge, the Union Pacific Railroad and the river boat ramp. There also will be a two-hour no fly zone for all air traffic, including drones, Wagner added.
A public viewing is planned at the Washington Riverfront to the west of the bridge. Details still are being ironed out.
Although the new bridge will be between the old bridge and viewing area, the public will still be able to see the demolition.
MoDOT is planning to broadcast the implosion live online.
Plans also call for a safety perimeter — 1,500-feet radius — to be enforced by the Washington police, Franklin County sheriff’s deputies and the Missouri Highway Patrol.
In addition to restrictions on land, the Missouri River will be closed to barge and other boat traffic for about 48 hours before, during and after the bridge demolition. The new bridge also will be closed briefly during the blast.
Since the new bridge opened in December, crews with Marschel Wrecking have been removing salvageable pieces before it is imploded into the river.
Following the implosion bridge pieces will be removed from the river.
There will be a dive inspector to ensure that all of the bridge pieces are removed.
Once that work is complete a river dike taken out during construction of the new bridge must be replaced.
After the old bridge is taken down, paths, walking paths and parking planned for below the bridge will be opened.