by Max Brantley
The first set of footings that supported the U.S. Highway 70 (Broadway) Bridge over the Arkansas River will be detonated this weekend, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.
A total of four footings are all that’s left of the 93-year-old structure. On Sunday, October 30 at 9:00 a.m., the demolition subcontractor will detonate explosives drilled into the two footings that supported concrete arches on the north side of the river.
These footings have been reduced in height to approximately one-foot above river stage, drilled to a depth of 25 feet, and packed with explosives designed to break apart the structure to make for easy removal of debris from the river bottom. While the footings are anchored several feet under the riverbed, the contractor is only required to remove the structure to elevation 211, which is approximately 10 feet below the riverbed in this area of the river.
The Arkansas River will be closed to navigation from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Since this is an underwater detonation, it is not likely to be a spectacular event; however, 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. Significant areas along the riverfront in North Little Rock (including portions of the Dickey-Stephens Park parking lot) are within the clear zone and will not be available to spectators.