Archive for Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another piece of turnpike bridge falls into Kansas River basin

Another span of the old Kansas Turnpike bridge was blown on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. The metal will be cut up and hauled away.

Another span of the old Kansas Turnpike bridge was blown on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. The metal will be cut up and hauled away.

January 13, 2010, 1:56 p.m. Updated January 13, 2010, 3:01 p.m.


Final bridge supports blasted

The last supports of the old Kansas River bridge were blasted Wednesday. Crews will now work to dispose of the materials that fell into the river. Enlarge video

Another portion of old Turnpike bridge blown

Crews blasted down another piece of the old Kansas Turnpike bridge Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2009. Enlarge video

Woodlawn School first-grader Tyler Bowden couldn’t be in class Wednesday afternoon, so he figured he’d learn something.

About blowing things up.

“I thought it’d be louder,” he said, as smoke cleared from what’s left — not much, it turns out — of an original Kansas Turnpike bridge across the Kansas River.

Wednesday afternoon’s demolition-by-explosion event attracted Bowden, his sister and about 40 other people to Burcham Park, where they could watch more than 250 tons of steel fall to the ground and river below.

Crews now will work to clear the debris and prepare for the next blasts, expected next month to remove two concrete-and-steel support columns.

The turnpike is spending $130 million to replace original river bridges, overhaul interchanges and make other upgrades by the end of 2011 at the edge of Lawrence.

Previous detonations took down other portions of the bridge.


Jack Hope III 8 years, 3 months ago

They better hurry up and blow the rest of that bridge. I wonder how the rising waters of the Kaw following the heavy snow melt-off might affect the water level around the bridges. You'd think the LJWorld might want to ask the KTA about that.

mfagan 8 years, 3 months ago

Hello, sandrat.

Crews don't expect any trouble from the water level, but they did make some changes from the last time they dropped this much steel into the water -- instead of breaking the supports into three sections, this time they opted for four.

They're hoping that the smaller sections will help speed removal. The hope was to prevent pieces from sinking too far into the river bottom, something that caused problems last time.

Next month, by the way, crews will be expected to blast the what remains of the concrete-and-steel supports that had held up all that steel since the turnpike opened. No specific date has been set.

mfagan 8 years, 3 months ago

Whoops. I forgot to add my name and title to that last comment:

I'm Mark Fagan, transportation reporter, and I was the one who wrote the article.

I'm checking in with the turnpike folks all the time, so if you have any questions or concerns about the project, etc., drop me a line at and I'll see I can find out...

Jack Hope III 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the follow up Mark. I've very glad to see that the journalists at the LJWorld read the posts here -- to be honest, I don't know how you can stomach it sometimes.

BTW, I love the slow-motion voices at the end of the video clip of the bridge coming down. They give me a giggle every time I hear them and I applaud you guys for leaving them in.

errita 8 years, 3 months ago

I hope they finish soon. We live right along the turnpike about a half mile from the bridge. I don't think myself,my husband and our little cats hearts can take much more. Scares the crap out of us everytime. I think the cat literally flew through the air last time. LOL!

davidmcg 8 years, 3 months ago

We heard that in McLouth and thought what the........

riverdrifter 8 years, 3 months ago

The bridge has been in the Kansas River Basin all along. Headline should read something like "Another piece of turnpike bridge falls to Kansas river bottom".

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