The KTA has issued a press release. Because of the way the KTA’s site is designed, I shall quote it verbatim.
Additional information is now available on the Kansas Turnpike Authority’s upcoming demolition of the original bridge structures across the Kansas River in Lawrence.
The steel structures that once carried I-70 traffic across the river will be removed in three phases, each of which will begin with a detonation. Two of the three dates for the demolition phases have been set: Sunday, November 15 at 12:30 p.m., and Thursday, November 19 at 10 a.m. The third date will likely be in early December. Times for the blasts are approximate and depend on weather.
During use of the explosives, Kansas Highway Patrol troopers and KTA maintenance crews will be conducting “rolling road blocks” to secure a segment of time without Turnpike traffic in the blasting area. This construction traffic-control technique has been used successfully many times on the Kansas Turnpike and usually results in minor delays for travelers. Anyone using the Turnpike near Lawrence on these two days should obey all traffic signs, construction workers and KHP troopers. Do not stop in the construction zone unless instructed to do so by KHP or KTA.
An area of at least a 1,000-foot radius from the blasting site must be free of all roadway and pedestrian traffic. KTA and contractor crews are working with the City of Lawrence and Douglas County to secure the area. The public should be aware that due to the use of explosives, access to some areas near the bridge may be restricted even further. Although some public areas will be restricted, Burcham Park is outside the 1000-foot secured perimeter and will be open.
“Our main objective is to remove the original bridge structures safely and without incident,” said KTA Director of Public Relations Lisa Callahan.
On November 15, an approximate 250-foot section of the eastbound structure will be dropped onto a temporary causeway that has been constructed in the river. Most of the steel truss will land on this platform. Contractors will then remove the steel to be recycled. The process will repeat on November 19 for a section of the westbound structure. The remaining larger section of the original bridges will be removed in December.
“We know there is a lot of interest in this demolition. There should be. After all, this is where construction started for the Turnpike. It all began in Lawrence on New Year’s Eve of 1954. This is a very historic event we are about to witness,” said KTA President/CEO Michael L. Johnston. “In celebrating this event, we want to be certain not to compromise safety in any way.”
The project to replace the two bridges began in June 2008 and includes interchange ramp improvements at Plazas 202 and 204 (East and West Lawrence), a new toll plaza with additional lanes at Plaza 204 (East Lawrence), as well as new I-70 bridges over the Kansas River through Lawrence. All traffic was moved onto one of the new bridges in late October. Immediately following the traffic switch to the new bridge, crews began removing the concrete decking of the original bridges.
The entire project is estimated to cost $130 million when complete in late 2011. For additional information, visit the project web site at www.SpanningTheFuture.com.