The last pieces of piers that shouldered loads for the Kansas Turnpike’s original Kansas River bridges were blasted with explosives about 2:15 p.m. today.
Rex Fleming, project engineer, deemed the demolition work a success.
"Everything is good and back to normal," Fleming said.
The tops of two concrete piers already had been removed. What’s left — stretching 22 feet underwater and into the riverbed below — was turned to rubble with specially designed charges.
The rubble was expected to settle on the river bottom, to be removed later by excavators.
Crews already are pouring piers for a new Kansas River bridge, one that’s being constructed alongside another span that opened last year. The work is part of a $130 million project to replace the 1950s-era bridges, overhaul interchanges and make other turnpike improvements.
Beginning Monday, the turnpike plans to close its East Lawrence interchange — that’s Exit 204, in North Lawrence — for seven months for reconstruction.