St. Peters residents have a blast

December 18, 2012 by  

St. Peters, Missouri, residents were among those who turned out on Tuesday, December 4, to watch as Missouri Department of Transportation contractors blasted the westbound span of the Blanchette Bridge into the Missouri River. The piers will be reworked, but the steel comprising the upper part of the bridge went into the water.

Some of the spectators wondered about the impact of the blast on wildlife on and around the bridge. Tom Evers, St. Charles County Area Engineer, said the contractors set small charges to frighten the fish away from the site before they brought the bridge down. In addition, Evers says:

“[The agency did] environmental screenings of the project to make sure there are no endangered animals living in or under or on the bridge.”

Evers said it was possible some pigeons were killed in the blast, because it is impossible to keep them all away from the bridge at the same time.

The demolition was part of a project to rehabilitate the bridge, which is now 54 years old. Approximately three-quarters of the structure will be either rehabilitated or replaced, including the reconstruction of the steel destroyed in the blast. The project is expected to cost about $63m.

There was plenty of warning before the explosion – a barge blew a horn for two minutes, and then Missouri DOT officials gave a 10-second countdown. There was a crowd of approximately 1,000 people gathered to watch as the bridge was brought down.

Transportation authorities could contact experts in flyer printing to create a mailer to help area residents locate detours while the bridge is under repair.