There are countless fundraisers but few as unique as the one conducted for a chance to blow up the old Highway 47 bridge over the Missouri River at Washington. The raffle raised about $15,000 for the BackStoppers, an organization that has the back of first responders and their families.
A Washington fireman, Matt Coleman, was the winner of the raffle sponsored by the Marschel wrecking company that has the contract to salvage steel from the bridge, and implode it into the Missouri River where it will be removed in a couple of days.
It is a historical event because the new bridge is forecasted to be usable for 75 to 100 years. Something like dropping the old structure into the river is a rare event — something that only occurs every 75 to 100 years.
The old bridge is more than 80 years old. The steel in it can be recycled.
The implosion of the old bridge is tentatively scheduled to occur Thursday, April 4, at around 9:30 a.m. That’s a tentative date. The level of the Missouri River might force a change.
A large crowd is expected to watch the event, with only one blast expected to drop it in the river.
The city is making plans for a viewing area on the shore west of the bridge. Even though the old structure is on the east side of the new bridge, people on the west side are expected to have a good view of the old bridge dropping into the river.
There will be movement restrictions on land and water before, during and after the big blast. The new bridge will be closed for a short period during the demolition.
Area law enforcement will handle the crowd. There will be a safety perimeter of about 1,500 feet in radius.
This historic event is fast-approaching. It will be something to see. It’s one of those events that will be remembered. The memory of it will be passed on to future generations.