by Max Brantley
As demolition of the U.S. Highway 70 (Broadway) Bridgeover the Arkansas River continues, the contractor has reached a point in the work where the remaining concrete arches on the north side of the river will be brought down using explosives, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.
On Friday, October 14 th at approximately 1:00 p.m., AHTD Director Scott Bennett will “pushthe button” to ignite charges placed inside holes that have been drilled into the concretearches. The resulting detonation will pulverize the arches into manageable pieces and allow the contractor to easily remove the debris. The arches have been wrapped in a fabric to help minimize debris dispersal.
There is no time requirement related to debris removal; however there is a size requirement. Any debris left in the Arkansas River must be less than the size equivalent of a bowling ball. No metal reinforcing steel (rebar) will be allowed to remain in the water.
While this event is an unusual and very interesting occurrence, a 1,500-foot clear zone will be established to ensure safety. Members of the public that wish to watch the demolition process are encouraged to do so from the banks of the Little Rock side of the Arkansas River as well as the Pulaski County Junction Bridge (pedestrian bridge). Significant areas along the riverfront in North Little Rock (including the Dickey-Stephens Park parking lot) are within the clear zone and will not be available to spectators.
The Main Street Bridge will remain open to traffic; however the sidewalk on the west side of the bridge will be closed and access will be restricted to credentialed media and local officials only. Arkansas Highway Police will be on-hand to regulate access to the sidewalk as well as to ensure traffic continues to move across the bridge.