GREAT VIDEO: Crews implode old Highway 76 bridge over Bull Shoals Lake

Published: Oct. 16, 2018 at 9:42 AM CDT
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At 10:08 a.m. on Tuesday, crews imploded a five-span bridge on Highway 76 and Highway 160 near Forsyth on Bull Shoals Lake.

MoDOT hired a contractor to demolish the bridge after constructing a new one next to it.

In a matter of seconds, nearly seventy years of steel and concrete splashed into Bull Shoals Lake.

"[It happened in the] blink of an eye," Taney County Resident Billy Tate said.

"All I heard was just a loud boom and the bridge was in the water," Taney County Resident Dawson Derby said.

People flooded a nearby field to watch the monumental moment.

"Everybody in Forsyth will remember this, who was here," Tate said.

"It makes history, yeah," Taney County Resident Curt Linkous said.

Linkous is in his 80's and was one of the spectators. He was also in the area when the bridge was built in 1950.

"A lot has changed," Linkous said.

At that time, the bridge replaced the old, old bridge that once spanned the White River before it was dammed up to become the lake.

"I saw the other bridge that this one took its place and I wanted to see this bridge go down because I've outlasted it," Linkous said.

The boom at 10:08 a.m. marked the end of that historic bridge.

"Once it's set off, it creates a knife blade edge of molten copper that slices through critical points of the structure and as you see with the video you took earlier, it causes the structure to drop vertically down," MoDot Engineer Johnny Teegardin said.

Teegardin says the explosion was set up so the blast didn't disrupt the brand new bridge, which is already open right beside where the old one once stood.

"It's directional and obviously the direction they chose to deploy the charges were to the east away from the existing structure," Teegardin said.

Now, he says, comes the clean-up.

"They'll start picking it out of the water in sections. So, as they pick them up and put them on the barge, they'll bring them to shore. Then, they'll cut them up, then they'll haul them off," Teegardin said.

He says the materials won't be wasted.

"It's not thrown away in a landfill. The concrete deck and rails and everything come off. The concrete gets recycled, it can be put into fill. They take the reinforcing steel out of it and recycle it. So, every component of this bridge will be recycled at some point," Teegardin said.

Though the new one is already taking its place, the old bridge certainly went out with a bang.

"It's been there a long time and I hope it served its purpose," Linkous said.

Teegardin says with an explosion of that size, safety was the main concern. He says local law enforcement and other responders were present to make sure the public was at a safe distance to watch this historic event.