Half of old Rocheport Bridge removed from Missouri River, MoDOT says
Construction workers have removed approximately half of the old Rocheport Bridge from the Missouri River since the Sept. 10 demolition, Missouri Department of Transportation officials said during a Saturday Superintendent Talk in Rocheport.
The rest of the bridge is expected to be removed from the river within one to three weeks.
Exceeding its original 24-hour schedule, the demo team worked day and night for 70 hours immediately after the blast to clear 300 feet of the river for boat and barge traffic, said MoDOT Senior Construction Inspector Nicole Samer. The team confirmed with a nearby barge that the additional hours would not delay its work and stayed in continuous contact with local mariners throughout the process. The main channel was opened by Wednesday morning.
“It kind of seemed like (the cleanup) was delayed comparing it to that 24 hours, but they were working as fast as they can,” Samer said. “Everyone who had a stake in it was looped in and comfortable with the time frame.”
Lunda Construction Co. plans to recycle the collected steel for reimbursement.
When project officials decided to demolish the old bridge with a controlled explosion, their greatest concern was that the blast might affect the previously constructed westbound bridge. After inspection by MoDOT officials, the westbound bridge was cleared to reopen, said Talat Mansour, project manager for Lunda Construction Co.
“We had about 11 inches between the new bridge and the old bridge, and (the blast was) perfect,” Samer said. “Nothing, no contact anywhere.”
The Katy Trail has been impacted “very minimally” by construction, and the demo team plans to remove the girders without a full closure of the trail, Mansour said.
The project is preparing to begin construction on the eastbound bridge, which will look “almost identical” to the westbound bridge and have “double the real estate,” Samer said.
Various agencies from several surrounding counties, including emergency services, assisted the demo team to ensure a safe and timely blast, according to MoDOT. Members of the bridge project will host a closed celebration on-site Sept. 20 to thank the agencies involved and commemorate the project milestone.
Samer encourages all who drive through the work zone to follow the posted speed limits to keep themselves and workers safe during construction.