Old Drayton Bridge imploded
The old Drayton Bridge went "kaboom" this morning. The bridge, which connected N.D. Highway 66 with Minnesota Highway 11 over the Red River east of Drayton, N.D., was imploded shortly after 8 a.m. The old bridge, which often was threatened by flo...
The old Drayton Bridge went "kaboom" this morning.
The bridge, which connected N.D. Highway 66 with Minnesota Highway 11 over the Red River east of Drayton, N.D., was imploded shortly after 8 a.m.
The old bridge, which often was threatened by flooding, was replaced last fall with a 4,090-foot-long bridge that is considered the second longest in North Dakota. The Four Bears Bridge over Lake Sakakawea near Fort Berthold, N.D., is about 400 feet longer.
"There were no problems. It went off without a hitch," said Richard Sampson, project engineer with the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
Spectators were kept more than a quarter-mile away, as a demolition crew blew up the center portion of the steel-truss cantilever bridge, each end falling to the ice and shoreline.
Most of the charges were placed in the center portion of the bridge, to keep the ends of the bridge from breaking through the ice, according to Joel Myers, project engineer with Lunda Construction, the Wisconsin company that built the new bridge.
The two piers will be imploded Friday. The remaining steel girders will be dismantled and hauled away to be recycled.
The implosion took 14.7 pounds of shape-charge, military-type explosives designed to go through steel, according to Scott Gustafson, owner of DemTech, a demolition company based in Dubois, Wyo. Some 48 charges were used.
"It went great," Gustafson said. "Some of it pierced through the ice, but they didn't lose anything."
The entire $30 million bridge replacement project began in 2009.
The new bridge contains 36 concrete piers that support the three-quarter-mile-long bridge from N.D. Highway 66 at Drayton to the ghost town of Robbin, Minn., and Minnesota Highway 11, which continues to the communities of Donaldson and Karlstad, Minn.
The old Drayton Bridge was closed during most Red River flood events, not because of water on the bridge, but because water covered the long approach to the old bridge.
The bridge, which was 1,058 feet long and 28 feet wide, had been closed four times since the 1997 record flood, resulting in detours of more than 60 miles. It was built in 1954.
DemTech is the same contractor that imploded the old Thompson Bridge, southeast of Grand Forks in early February.
While the company has now dropped two bridges in the Red River Valley this month, Gustafson said he has no more scheduled right now in this part of the country.
"I spied one down near Climax that looked like it should come down," he said, chuckling. "I travel the back roads, looking for new victims."
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