Behind the Blast: Crews Prepare for Amelia Earhart Bridge Demo

Behind the Blast: Crews Prepare for Amelia Earhart Bridge Demo

The old Amelia Earhart Bridge is still standing after numerous scheduling setbacks. Crews have carefully placed explosives along the bridge, which will bring down the steel in a matter of seconds.
(ATCHISON, Ks.) The old Amelia Earhart Bridge is still standing after numerous scheduling setbacks.

Timing is key on a project this precise.

"The current delay is because the river came up. All the rains to the north of us comes down the river and the river raised. And all the trash came into the river with that raising, so it's not safe to have divers in there," said KDOT Engineer Michelle Anschutz.

Crews have carefully placed explosives along the bridge, which will bring down the steel in a matter of seconds.

"There's about 320 individual explosive charges on this bridge, because basically it's going down from the Kansas side to the Missouri side, all the way," said V.P. of Advanced Explosives Demolition Eric Kelly.

"We add the explosives, cuts through it like a knife, and down to the ground it goes. It'll drop straight down," said Owner of Advanced Explosives Demolition Lisa Kelly.

Once the old bridge hits the water, crews will work to drag out the steel within 24 hours.

"The most exciting part about doing our job is hearing the bang, and I mean it's really pretty intense," said Kelly.

There's a designated viewing area set up along Riverfront Park for the public and media. A perimeter is set to guarantee safety of those watching and to protect the nearby bridge.

"We have to protect the new bridge too, so we're putting up a lot of protection measures up on the new bridge," said Anschutz.

Those close to the project are ready for the blast.

"It's kinda nice to see the old bridge put out of it's misery because if you look at it now it's kinda twisted and everything else so it be nice for it to go," said Anschutz.

But some are sad to see the historic structure go.

"The last ten minutes are the hardest. I've done this for 35 years, it's not just another bridge," said Eric Kelly.

"I'd really love to see them preserved and lasted. However, the same time technology has to go forward and seeing this great new brand bridge here and all the work the states put into for keeping the roads safe for people is really important," said Lisa Kelly.

K-DOT expects the river level to be back to normal by Wednesday. The first blast is now set for 9 a.m. on October 9.
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