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Archive for Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Next bridge blast to make a splash

The next section of the Kansas River bridge scheduled for blasting is over the water. The blast will take place next Tuesday.

December 1, 2009

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The Kansas Turnpike Authority’s next bridge blast will be bigger, louder and, yes, wetter.

A 333-foot-long stretch of support steel for an original bridge over the Kansas River is among several sections set for blasting at 10 a.m. Dec. 8.

The single section — weighing more than 300 tons — will be expected to draw much of the attention, as it will be split into four pieces by directional explosives and dropped with a splash into the river below.

While earlier blasts have dropped steel onto temporary extensions of the river bank, next week’s event will feature more light, smoke and force — all to cut bridge pieces small enough to be easily dragged from the river.

“There will be a lot more fireworks,” said Rex Fleming, the turnpike’s project engineer for construction of new bridges and related work at the edge of Lawrence.

In all, the Dec. 8 blast will remove more than 1,200 feet of steel that had supported a bridge for traffic heading east on the turnpike for more than 50 years. Remaining steel for the former westbound bridge is scheduled to be dropped at 10 a.m. Dec. 15.

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