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Big Crowds Come to Atchison for Historic Bridge Demolition

The Amelia Earhart bridge went down with a bang, and hundreds were there at the riverfront to watch it happen.
(ATCHISON, Kan.) It's 8:00am and already people have gathered on the riverfront.

And more gather by the minute.

By the time 9:00am arrives, it's a full blown crowd.

People old and young and in between are in Atchison, Kansas to watch a historical bridge go up in a puff of smoke.

"It's probably a once in a lifetime thing," said Trish Coy, a woman who has lived in Atchison for four years now.

Bobbie Wagner was born and raised in Atchison.

She was still very young in 1938, the year the Amelia Earhart Memorial bridge opened for traffic.

Wagner has come to the river with her family to watch history.

"Nothing like this happens around here very often," she said.  "And it's a beautiful day, and it's nice to see all these people here, even kids from school.  So that is great."

For more than 70 years the bridge connected Kansas and Missouri.

It was closed in 2012, to make way for the new bridge.

The old bridge went down in mere seconds, with several flashes and a boom.

"We thought it would be a small boom, but it was a big boom!  And everyone could just feel it go right through them," said Mark Shoen Gold, who is visiting from New Jersey.

He and his wife just happened to be here at the right time to see the demolition in person.

"We were here to see the Pony Express marker on 3rd and Main.  And it was all barricaded," he said.  "We saw a policeman and we said 'Can we get to 3rd and Main?' and he said 'No!  They're blowing up a bridge!' So we said that's even better!  We'll stay for that!"

And in a town where some say not a whole lot happens, this is what brings a crowd.

It's a crowd that's not here just to watch history, but to be a part of that history.

Two more blasts are expected to finish the bridge off. The next is tentatively scheduled for this Friday.
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