by Max Brantley
In a decision made shortly before 8 p.m. this evening, Massman Construction Co. notified the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department that it has cancelled previously announced plans to float into place the second of two arches that will span the Arkansas River to become the new U.S. Highway 70 (Broadway) Bridge.
Earlier this evening at approximately 4:35 p.m., one of the two remaining footings that supported the steel navigation arch of the old structure was detonated with explosives. A post-blast review of the underwater debris pile revealed that a certain amount of the structure remains intact.
The construction contract calls for the structure to be reduced to elevation 211. The intact remains of the detonated structure are high enough to prevent Massman from sinking staging barges (supporting the new arch) low enough into the river for final placement on concrete piers. Additionally, the remains sit in what will become part of the new, wider navigation channel under the bridge.
Massman is working with the demolition subcontractor to determine the best method to remove the remaining portion of the footing. Although a new date for floating the arch into place has not been determined, it will be sometime after Thanksgiving Day.