MACON – Demolition continues on the old Champ Clark Bridge in Louisiana. The first implosion to demolish two spans of the old bridge took place in October. Since then span 1 over the railroad tracks has been removed. Now plans are in place for the second implosion to drop the remaining two truss spans, #4 & #5, on the Illinois side.
This pair of truss spans is scheduled to be dropped into the Mississippi River Monday, Nov. 18 between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. “As we experienced with the first demolition event, the timing of the blast can be delayed. Massman Construction will do its best to have the blast occur within the scheduled window of time. However, ensuring the safety of everyone involved is their number one priority, so a delay may be possible,” stated Missouri Department of Transportation Project Director Keith Killen.
HANNIBAL – The next step in the removal of the old Champ Clark Bridge is to begin dismantling the first span over the railroad tracks on the Missouri side. “We are awaiting all the necessary approvals to implode the Illinois side spans, and in order to keep progressing with the removal, we will work on this span next,” explained Missouri Department of Transportation Project Director Keith Killen. The work is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, Wednesday, November 6 and Monday, November 11, weather permitting.
The truss of the bridge span will be removed in segments. “Our contractor will cut sections of the old bridge, then use a barge mounted crane to place the sections on a barge,” Killen explained. The lane restrictions are necessary to allow crews to access the cut points on the old truss.
“There are three segments being removed that will require the lane restrictions, but when we get to the final segment, we will actually have to stop traffic for up to an hour because of the size of the segment,” Killen noted. He added that because the size of that segment, it is safest for the traveling public to not be on the new bridge. The one-hour closure is tentatively scheduled for Monday, November 11, a time is to be determined.
Killen stressed the work could be delayed due to weather, especially wind. Updates will be provided as work progresses.
Information will be distsributed as soon as the date is known for the demolition of the last two spans.
HANNIBAL – Massman Construction and the Champ Clark Bridge Team invite the public to the monthly update meeting being held Saturday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m. in Riverview Park in Louisiana, weather permitting. This is an informal meeting and attendees are encouraged to ask questions. The update usually lasts about 60 minutes.
This is a 5 minute video showing the first blast involving two spans of the old Champ Clark Bridge. This occurred approximately 4:25 p.m. The blast was recorded LIVE on Facebook and is now available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/q_MnwYSV2BY.
HANNIBAL - Due to high winds over the last few days creating unsafe working conditions to prepare for the historic Champ Clark Bridge demolition, the time for the first blast has been move to a window between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, October 18.
The two truss spans on the Missouri side will be imploded first; a few weeks later, the two truss spans on the Illinois side will be imploded with a blast. “There is a lot of interest from residents, schools and media within the region, and because the safety perimeter encompasses a lot of viewing areas in Louisiana along the river, we are encouraging viewers to park away from Highways 54 and 79 and walk to some of the safe areas,” explained Missouri Department of Transportation Project Director Keith Killen.
Two areas that are available for viewing include the Louisiana riverfront on the south side of the bridge, near the Massman Construction project offices on Water Street and at the south end of Riverview Park. Another safe way to watch is to view it on MoDOT’s Northeast District Facebook page, as the blast will be featured as a live video on the social media platform.
Massman Construction Co. will have personnel manning the perimeter of the safe zone and will be able to direct viewers to safe areas, and there are some streets that will be closed prior to and immediately following the blast. These include Edison Avenue, Jackson and Main, and Noyes.
The new bridge will close approximately 45 minutes prior to the blast and could remain closed up to 45 minutes after the blast.
“We appreciate all those interested in viewing the blast be respectful of the safe zone,” Killen said. Having viewers in an unsafe area is what could delay the blast. “We plan to have the blast sometime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., yet there is a lot of preparation that goes into it, so it could be delayed for various reasons,” he added. A series of airhorn blasts will occur approximately a few minutes prior to the implosion.
A video of the implosion will be posted on MoDOT's YouTube channel later that afternoon, along with a link to it posted on the www.champclarkbridge.com site.
HANNIBAL – With the new Champ Clark Bridge now open to traffic on August 3 on U.S. Route 54 over the Mississippi River, demolition of the historic, 1928 bridge was inevitable. While Massman Construction Company has been full speed ahead with deck removal of the old bridge, a more audible and visible phase of the demolition will include blasts. The first pair of truss spans is expected to be dropped into the Mississippi Friday, October 18 at approximately 9 a.m., with the second pair to follow approximately two weeks later. “We have a good idea of when the blasts will occur; however, these are not typically a set time but rather a window, as many details need to be carried out and the situation must be perfect to ensure safety,” stated Missouri Department of Transportation Project Director Keith Killen. While 9 a.m. is the planned blast time, a lot of preparation has to occur to ensure everyone’s safety, so it could be delayed.
The first blasts will be on the Missouri side. “Massman will have people stationed around the perimeter of the safe area to keep people from encroaching in the safe area,” Killen said. Unfortunately, most of the Missouri side of the riverfront is included in this safe area. “We will work with the City of Louisiana to set up signs and traffic control to limit where onlookers can safely watch the blasts,” Killen added. The demolition blasts will be available to view live on the MoDOT Northeast District Facebook page.
Once truss spans 2 and 3 on the Missouri side have been dropped, Massman will have a limited time frame to retrieve all debris from the Mississippi River in order to safely re-open the river to commercial barge and private boat traffic. The new bridge will temporarily close, possibly up to 45 minutes, as a safety precaution during each blast.
The next phase will include dropping truss spans 4 and 5 on the Illinois side, leaving the final span over the railroad to be dismantled later. This will also be available to view live on the MoDOT Northeast District Facebook page.
Work will then begin on the removal of the piers above the water level. “This phase will not utilize explosive blasting,” said Killen. “Massman has chosen to jackhammer the existing piers to prevent possible damage to the new bridge,” Killen added.
After the removal of the above-surface piers has been accomplished, work will move below the water surface. “The remaining pier sections will be strategically drilled in order to allow for the placement of explosives prior to blasting,” Killen explained. He noted blasting of the piers would not be as dramatic as detonation of the truss spans. All resulting debris will be removed from the river bed including any debris larger than about the size of a football.
Join Massman Construction Company and the entire Champ Clark Bridge team for the final monthly project update meeting being held Saturday, October 26 at 10 a.m. in Riverview Park in Louisiana. Project updates and additional information about the project can be found at the Champ Clark Bridge website, www.champclarkbridge.com or the Champ Clark Bridge page on facebook.
HANNIBAL – Massman Construction and the Champ Clark Bridge Team invite the public to the monthly update meeting being held Saturday, September 28 at 10:00 a.m. in Riverview Park in Louisiana, weather permitting. The primary topic will be the demolition of the old bridge. This is an informal meeting and attendees are encouraged to ask questions. The update usually lasts about 60 minutes.
MACON – Massman Construction and the Champ Clark Bridge Team invite the public to the monthly update meeting being held Saturday, August 24 at 10:00 a.m. in Riverview Park in Louisiana, weather permitting. This is an informal meeting and attendees are encouraged to ask questions. Even though the bridge is open, work continues on the project. The update usually lasts about 60 minutes.
MACON – Tomorrow, Aug. 3, marks history in Pike County Missouri and Illinois. There will be a new Champ Clark Bridge for motorists to cross the Mississippi River on U.S. Route 54. A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony is being held on the new bridge beginning at 6:30 p.m. The new bridge is expected to open to traffic soon after the ceremony concludes.
“When we received the TIGER Grant in 2015, it seemed we had a large task ahead of us to get the bridge completed by November 1, 2019,” said Champ Clark Bridge Project Director Keith Killen. “Massman Construction Co. has done a wonderful job getting this project completed ahead of schedule,” he added. The original completion date was Fall of 2019.
After the new bridge is opened, the old bridge will close to through traffic, but will still be accessible from the Missouri side to those who need to access the marina on the Illinois side. Once Massman Construction Co. completes the work in front of the marina to connect it to the new section of highway, the old bridge will be permanently closed. The old bridge will be demolished in the next few months.
HANNIBAL – In just a little over a week, several hundred people are expected to walk on the NEW Champ Clark Bridge for the first time. All are invited to attend the bridge dedication ceremony on Saturday, August 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Mr. Ben Clark, great-grandson of The Honorable Champ Clark, for whom the bridge is named, will be the featured speaker. Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna, Illinois Secretary of Transportation Omer Osman, and Henry J. Massman, President, Massman Construction Company, the design-builder, also will speak.
The new bridge will open soon after the ceremony concludes. All details of the ceremony can be found online at www.champclarkbridge.com.
Those attending the ceremony can park at the Louisiana High School, where school buses will shuttle them to the end of the new bridge. Shuttles will begin at 5:15 p.m. At that point, attendees can walk to the middle of the bridge where the ceremony is to take place, or if they need assistance, golf carts will be available to give them rides. Should the high school parking lot fill up, overflow parking will be at the school ball fields off of Kelly Lane behind the high school, and parking signs will be alongside the streets to help direct traffic. Law enforcement and city personnel will assist in guiding traffic. Attendees using wheelchairs can be dropped off in front of Ayerco at the U.S. Route 54 and MO 79 intersection at the end of the bridge. The public will be allowed on the bridge beginning at 5 p.m.
Anyone interested in getting photos of the new and old bridge, before the old bridge comes down, is encouraged to walk up to Riverview Park that evening and take “selfies.” Beginning at 5 p.m., several food vendors, from both sides of the river, will be offering items for sale. “There is a nice place to sit and if the weather cooperates, it will make for an enjoyable setting,” said Kristal Pitzer, Louisiana Chamber of Commerce director who is also helping coordinate the event. The list of vendors and other activities are on the website. Riverview Park will close to vehicle traffic Saturday morning, August 3 around 8 a.m.
Wayne and Georgia Gamm, and their son, Larry, are providing two vintage vehicles that will be parked on either side of the stage. These include a 1930 Model A Ford and a 1923 Case Car. “This will be another great photo opportunity,” said Carolyn Wisecarver with Pike County Economic Development who coordinated getting the vehicles.
Pike County, Missouri resident Pam Ince will sing the national anthem for the ceremony. American Legion Post 370 in Louisiana will post the colors during the ceremony. A “Blessing” of the new bridge will be led by Pastor John Kroeze and then a moment of silence for those who lost their lives on the old bridge.
Residents who are more than 90 years in age and live in Pike County are encouraged to attend and sit in a special section. To prepare, please call 573-248-2584 with the number of people who will be in your party. A video featuring three Pike County residents, the history of the old bridge and construction of the new bridge will be available on the bridge website prior to the ceremony.
Seating at the ceremony will be first come first serve. “We are not sure how many to expect, yet we are prepared for several hundred, and we appreciate everything done by the contractor, the state agencies and these communities to make this a memorable dual-state event,” said MoDOT Project Director of the Champ Clark Bridge Keith Killen.
The new bridge is expected to open to traffic soon after the ceremony. At that time, the old bridge will close to through traffic, only being made available from the Missouri side to those who need to access the marina on the Illinois side. Once Massman Construction Co. completes the work in front of the marina to connect it to the new section of highway leading up to the bridge, the old bridge will be permanently closed. The old bridge will be demolished in the next few months.
The ceremony is being planned by a region-wide committee with representatives from many organizations on both sides of the river.