Bridge demolition goes off with a bang

As part of the Sage Creek highway and bridge improvement project, the Wyoming Department of Transportation demolished the old Sage Creek bridge last week using explosives, with very little disruption of traffic. Demolition experts used dynamite on Wednesday, Feb. 27, to remove the mostly concrete bridge, which was located on the old U.S. Highway 310 lane of traffic between Lovell and Cowley. As anticipated, traffic delays were minimal, lasting for only about 10 minutes.

Patti Carpenter photo
Explosives were used to remove the old Sage Creek bridge last week between Lovell and Cowley.

Both north and southbound traffic was stopped about 1,500 feet from the bridge before the blast. A loud warning siren was heard five minutes in advance, as WyDOT workers cleared the area prior to blasting. A second warning could be heard one minute before the blast, which took place at 1:06 p.m.

According to WyDOT public relations representative Cody Beers, the demolition was to take place earlier the same day but was delayed by a few hours due to complications caused by the colder than expected weather.

“It got off to a late start, but it went off without a hitch,” said Beers. “The prime contractor, S&S Builders out of Gillette, is expert at this stuff and they hired an expert subcontractor who did a great job.”

In addition to the old Sage Creek Bridge, a nearby railroad bridge adjacent to U.S. 310 will also be removed. Beers said the railroad bridge is made mostly of metal that can be dismantled, so it will not be necessary to use explosives. He said WyDOT will coordinate with the railroad company and disruption to trains is not expected.

The $11.7 million Sage Creek highway and bridge improvement project consists of road widening, bridge widening over the Shoshone River, replacement of the Sage Creek and railroad bridges, asphalt paving and other work. Chip sealing, seeding and reclamation are scheduled to take place in the spring and summer months.

Construction related to the Shoshone River bridge improvements will continue through the winter, weather permitting. Beers said the projects are running on schedule and expected to be complete on or before Oct. 31.

Drone video of the old Sage Creek Bridge demolition, shot by Bairco Construction, can be viewed on the Lovell Chronicle Facebook page.

By Patti Carpenter