Final two trusses on old Champ Clark Bridge slated to come down Monday

Two fallen trusses from the old Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, Mo., can been seen partially submerged in the Mississippi River at the base of the bridge after explosive charges brought them down on Oct. 18. The trusses blocked the main river channel for a time and have since been removed. Demolition crews next plan to dismantle in place the single truss pictured at far right and will then later use explosives to bring down the last two trusses on the Illinois side of the bridge, seen at far left. H-W Photo/Edward Husar
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 15, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Nov. 15, 2019 12:05 am

LOUISIANA, Mo. -- The explosive demolition of the last two trusses on the old Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, Mo., is scheduled for Monday.

The Missouri Department of Transportation said trusses 4 and 5 -- both on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River -- are slated to be imploded sometime between 9 a.m. and noon, or possibly later if a delay occurs.

A demolition crew will make cuts at strategic locations in the trusses to weaken the steel, then explosive charges will be placed near the cuts. Once the charges are set off, the trusses will break into manageable pieces and fall into the river.

Crews will then use cranes to lift the steel pieces from the river and place them on barges to be hauled away.

Massman Construction -- the general contractor in charge of building the new Champ Clark Bridge, which opened in early August -- is overseeing the demolition of the old bridge, built in 1928.

A demolition team used explosives Oct. 18 to drop trusses 2 and 3 on the Missouri side of the river. After that dramatic explosion, the fallen trusses temporarily blocked the river's main navigation channel but were quickly removed and hauled away to be recycled.

This week the demolition team took down truss 1 closest to the Missouri shore. This truss couldn't simply be dropped using explosives because doing so might have damaged the railroad tracks and other infrastructure along the shore. So it had to be dismantled in place using a crane and cutting equipment, one segment at a time.

When the first two trusses were imploded in October, people who came to watch from the Missouri side of the river were ordered to stay at least 1,200 feet from the blast site to guard against any flying debris. When the next two trusses are taken down Monday, there will be no restriction on where individuals can view from Missouri because the blasting will take place a safe enough distance away. However, boats on the Mississippi River will be stopped if they come within 1,200 feet either upstream or downstream of the explosion site.

Keith Killen, project director for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said the new Champ Clark Bridge will be closed temporarily -- possibly for up to 45 minutes -- as a safety precaution during the blasting of trusses 4 and 5.

Once the trusses are dropped and removed, crews will finish removing the old bridge's concrete piers. Killen said the piers will be jackhammered down to the water's surface, then they will be drilled and filled with explosives so the underwater sections can be blown apart.

All debris will be removed from the river, Killen said.

Monday's demolition of the trusses will be broadcast "live" on MoDOT's Northeast District Facebook page.

More information is available at champclarkbridge.com/