Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, November 19, 2009

KU student pushes button that demolishes a portion of the Kansas Turnpike bridge

2nd explosion topples 2 sections

Jessica Sadler, a Kansas University junior from Jenks, Okla., and a member of the KU rowing team, gives a thumbs-up for her friend and rowing teammate Kristen Allison, a junior from Denver. Allison photographed Sadler shortly after Sadler pushed the detonator that demolished another section of the old I-70 Kansas River bridge. “I really put some spank on it,” Sadler said Thursday after setting off the explosion.

Jessica Sadler, a Kansas University junior from Jenks, Okla., and a member of the KU rowing team, gives a thumbs-up for her friend and rowing teammate Kristen Allison, a junior from Denver. Allison photographed Sadler shortly after Sadler pushed the detonator that demolished another section of the old I-70 Kansas River bridge. “I really put some spank on it,” Sadler said Thursday after setting off the explosion.

November 19, 2009, 9:30 a.m. Updated November 19, 2009, 2:26 p.m.

Advertisement

Second turnpike bridge demolition

A KU student pushed the button that demolished a portion of the Kansas Turnpike bridge.

Tracking the boom

People around the area have reported hearing today's explosion from considerable distances from the bridge. Did you? Let us know where you were if so, and we'll map the responses to see how far the sound traveled.

Google Map

How far could the blast be heard?


View Turnpike bridge demolition in a larger map

Jessica Sadler, KU junior from Jenks, Okla., and a member of the KU Rowing team, second from right, hits the detonator button to raze another section of the old I-70 Kansas River bridge on Thursday morning. At right is her KU Rowing teammate Kristen Allison, Denver. "I really put some spank on it," said Sadler after setting off the explosion.

Jessica Sadler, KU junior from Jenks, Okla., and a member of the KU Rowing team, second from right, hits the detonator button to raze another section of the old I-70 Kansas River bridge on Thursday morning. At right is her KU Rowing teammate Kristen Allison, Denver. "I really put some spank on it," said Sadler after setting off the explosion.

Traffic starts up again across the new I-70 Kansas River bridge after a section of the old bridge, shown on the ground in right side of photo, was dropped by an explosion Thursday.

Traffic starts up again across the new I-70 Kansas River bridge after a section of the old bridge, shown on the ground in right side of photo, was dropped by an explosion Thursday.

Jessica Sadler has been waiting for the old Kansas Turnpike Bridge over the Kansas River to come down for quite awhile, but she never imagined she’d play a pivotal role in making it happen.

“That was awesome,” said Sadler, a junior member of Kansas University’s rowing team, who was selected Thursday to push — more like slam — the button that set off explosives used to bring down two sections of the bridge.

The explosion set off a big boom, as smoke rose and two sections of the bridge, which carried turnpike traffic over the Kansas River for more than 50 years, came crashing down. Sadler triggered the successful blast from a spot 1,000 feet away form the bridge, along the river levee.

“It was more like a relief, than scary or anything else,” Sadler said with a sigh. “It’s just a nice feeling to know that we’re making progress.”

Sadler, of Jenks, Okla., said construction of the replacement bridges has prevented crew members from racing in that section of the river. She said she hopes to be able to race in the area by the time she finishes college next year.

Thursday’s demolition means crews were that much closer to finishing their work on the $130 million reconstruction project at the northern edge of town, expected to be finished in 2011.

“We’re just really excited to get our river back,” said Kristen Allison, 21, of Denver, also a junior member of the rowing team, who got to stand next to Sadler during the explosion.

Originally scheduled for 10 a.m., the blast was delayed until 10:30 because of dense fog. Kansas Highway Patrol troopers conducted a rolling road block, in which they slowed traffic on the turnpike but didn’t stop it, in order for the blast to occur safely.

About 100 officials and community members gathered for a reception Thursday at Kansas Athletics Inc.’s boathouse in Burcham Park, where Sadler was selected in a drawing to be the blaster. She was assisted by Pat Carney, owner of Chicago Explosive Services, the firm hired to blast the original turnpike bridges.

“You go through your whole life and you never see an event like this,” said Michael Johnston, president and CEO of the Kansas Turnpike Authority. “We thought we’d share it with the community and other folks, and we’re just thrilled to death.”

Within minutes of the blast, construction crews began tearing up the steel beams on the fallen portions of the bridge. Rex Fleming, KTA official, said crews tore up the sections dropped during the first blast on Sunday within one day.

Fleming said a total of five blasts would be needed to bring the bridge entirely down. He said the next blast would likely occur sometime the week after Thanksgiving, so as not to interrupt travelers during the holiday.

Carney said he hoped to have all sections down by Christmas.

Northwestern Intern Will Dupree contributed to this story.

Comments

Boston_Corbett 5 years, 1 month ago

Tie Mangino to the bridge.

Two birds, one stone.

ryknow1976 5 years, 1 month ago

"Jessica Sadler, a junior on the KU Rowing team, was selected to push the plunger that will trigger the blast." They shoulda let Mangino push the button. I hear he likes to use his finger.

KansasPerson 5 years, 1 month ago

That was cool. BOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!! I heard it from my house (northern OWL area) about a second before I heard/saw it on the livestream.

Unfortunately, a friend who tuned in from Colorado (former Lawrence resident) couldn't get anything but snow on the livestream, so she had to miss it.

But that was fun. Thanks J-W.

KansasPerson 5 years, 1 month ago

Gosh darn it, my BOOOOOOOOOM!!!! was supposed to be in all caps! Lower case just doesn't do it justice! >:-|

Megan Tugman 5 years, 1 month ago

we heard it at the sunflower broadband building. felt it too.

onrywmn 5 years, 1 month ago

I heard it out on Coralberry Court down the road from Sunflower Grade School!

NotASquishHead 5 years, 1 month ago

Clearly heard it in northern Tonganoxie. Unbelievable how loud it was even here, can't imagaine how loud it was at Burcham.

spiff 5 years, 1 month ago

I heard it from the new secret bum hideout at... nevermind.

Vinny1 5 years, 1 month ago

"Within minutes of the blast, construction crews began tearing up the steal beams on the fallen portions of the bridge."

Might want to fix what kind of steal you're talking about there LJW.

woodenfleaeater 5 years, 1 month ago

spiff, is that the hideout by the deal next to the thing by that other deal? If so, I've probably seen you around.

inglec 5 years, 1 month ago

I guess no one proof reads at LJWorld...numerous misspellings on a daily bases.

pfunk81 5 years, 1 month ago

^basis? I'm available for hire, LJW.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.