2006-05-18 / Front Page

Second bridge blast planned for today

By Sam Bari

The inclement weather of the past week has plagued the Jamestown Bridge demolition project. After postponing the planned detonation date for the dropping of the deck trusses and supporting piers of the old Jamestown Bridge from Tuesday, May 16, shortly after 10 a.m., until Wednesday, the wet weekend weather postponed the event one more day. Now the event is scheduled for today, May 18, shortly after 10 a.m., according to Project Engineer Patrick O'Mally of Cashman Equipment Company of Boston. "Of course, the ultimate decision is made by the blaster," O'Mally said.

The blaster is Scott Gustafson of DemTech, Inc. of DuBois, Wyo., the explosives experts subcontracted to place and detonate the charges that will drop the remaining deck trusses and support piers. "Thursday morning appears to be giving us a little break in the weather so we can proceed," O'Mally noted this Monday morning. "Rain or shine, we're going to do it unless some severe turn in the weather makes conditions impossible to do the job safely. We couldn't work on the weekend because the rain was too hard to allow men to walk on the bridge and place the explosives," he said.

If all goes as planned, the new Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge should stand alone over the West Passage of Narragansett Bay by late this morning.

The 75 controlled explosives in this second major detonation will remove approximately 1,600 feet of the two deck trusses stretching 800 feet on either side of the gap left from the removal of the bridge's center span. In this event, the top 50 feet of the central supporting piers will be detonated at the same time, causing a simultaneous explosion that will drop the piers into the bay with the deck trusses.

The new Jamestown bridge will be closed for up to four hours starting at 10 a.m. on the day of the event. If the detonation is on schedule, the blast should take place shortly after 10 a.m. The roads will be closed no longer than four hours. The roads were closed for less than two hours for the first explosion. If all goes well, the time frame for the second detonation should be similar.

Return to top