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Bridge projects near completion
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The end is in sight for two bridge construction projects in Warren County. Beersheba Street’s new bridge is on schedule for completion, while the old Ernest Crouch Memorial Bridge hit the water Wednesday.
Tennessee Valley Explosives, a drilling and blasting company from Cleveland, Tenn., spent all day Wednesday cutting through sections of the bridge’s steel beam supports to place explosives. The explosives were guarded by safety barriers.
“The safety barriers are made of wood and filled with sand,” said Tennessee Valley Explosives employee Gary Owens. “If there are metal fragments caused by the explosion, hopefully, they will be stopped by the barriers.”
Even with this safety precaution, spectators were moved 1,000 feet away. The explosion around 6:30 p.m. shook the ground. A cheer was heard as the bridge fell into Big Hickory Creek.
Highways Inc., the business TDOT contracted to construct the replacement bridge, will use a crane to pull the pieces from the water.
Ownes says bridge explosion projects are a satisfying part of his job.
“I get to blow stuff up,” he said. “And, I don’t have to clean up the mess. I blow it and leave it for someone else to clean. Yes, I like my job.”
Estimated project completion date is on or before July 31, 2012.
Beersheba Street’s bridge will be done shortly thereafter. Estimated completion is on or before Aug. 31. However, TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn says the bridge may be completed a little early.
“Both bridge projects, should be complete by the end of July or first of August,” she said.