- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas highway department engineers are considering a spectacular farewell to the Broadway Bridge connecting downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock - crews may blow it up.

Planning continues for the construction of a new bridge connecting the two cities over the Arkansas River, but contractors must decide how to best get rid of the current span. According to Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department officials, detonating the bridge will likely be a better option than dismantling it piece by piece. The new bridge will be built at the site of the current bridge.

“I would suspect (the contractor is) going to want to blast it,” said Carl Fuselier, head of the department’s Bridge Design Division.

About 24,000 drivers use the Broadway Bridge daily, and those motorists will need to find an alternate route to cross the river while the new bridge is under construction. Fuselier said detonating the bridge will take less time than dismantling the bridge - thus reducing the overall length of the project, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday (https://bit.ly/Ntk9gj ).

The state has estimated that the crossing will be unavailable for about 18 months, but officials won’t know for sure until a contract is awarded later this year.

If explosives are used on the Broadway Bridge, the contractor will be responsible for removing the debris from the river.

The contractor “just can’t let it fall in and leave it there,” Fuselier said, adding that barge traffic would be notified ahead of time of the pending blast.

Highway department spokesman Danny Straessle said explosives were last used on an Arkansas bridge in 2005, when crews destroyed the U.S. 70 bridge over the White River at DeValls Bluff.

Previous detonations in downtown Little Rock have drawn crowds. In February 1980, hundreds of people, including then-Gov. Bill Clinton, watched the demolition of the historic Marion and Manning hotels.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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