281 bridge imploded
March 18, 2013, 9:40 pm by James Walker
Texas Department of Transportation officials deemed Sunday’s demolition of the venerable US 281 bridge an unqualified success, but local authorities, residents and business owners were left to deal with an aftermath that included a phone and internet communication outage, a ruptured sewage line and assorted private property damage.
Employees of Omega Demolition, hired to bring down the 77-year-old bridge, fired off a series of approximately 30 explosive charges at 8:08 a.m., setting off a string of flashing lights, a thundering explosion and a cloud of black smoke and dust that drifted eastward away from hundreds of people who gathered for the event at Lakeside Pavilion.
The blast, directed by Engineered Explosive Services, collapsed most of the steel girders that remained of the old structure, but one section of the bridge remained looming above the water’s north bank and officials quickly determined that at least one charge attached to that area of the bridge failed to detonate.
An Omega Demolition employee later removed the unexpended explosive and a decision was made to dismantle the remaining girders with cutting torches rather than firing another charge.
TxDOT officials estimated a crowd of 3,000 showed up to watch the demolition, but Marble Falls City Manager Ralph Hendricks put the number at approximately 1,000.
See a special keepsake edition of The Highlander Tuesday with additional stories and photos.
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