Electrifying atmosphere at Lakeside Park and Pavilion in Marble Falls as history was made
AUSTIN — More than 3,000 spectators gathered early Sunday morning, March 17, to watch the demolition of the U.S. 281 bridge over Lake Marble Falls. Within seconds, a series of scheduled blasts felled the 600 feet of steel that had spanned the Colorado River in Marble Falls for 77 years.
“Using controlled explosives is a very unique method to demolish a bridge—it’s only been used a handful of times at the department,” said Greg Malatek, Austin District Engineer. “In fact, this was the largest steel truss bridge that has ever been demolished with explosives in Texas.”
The implosion was part of a $30 million project by the Texas Department of Transportation to replace the original four-lane bridge built in the 1930’s with two side-by-side, two-lane bridges with shoulders and sidewalks.
“U.S. 281 is a heavily-traveled route and we believe this innovative demolition method is the best option for the city,” said George Russell, Mayor of Marble Falls. “Instead of having to deal with another two months of dust and noise, this demolition method allowed us to perform the work at one time, ultimately resulting in a safer, quicker, and more efficient operation.”
Removing the steel truss was the first phase of demolition, with the removal of bridge piers to follow. Steel remnants of the old bridge will be recycled and made into art beautification projects for the city of Marble Falls. Demolition work is expected to be complete late April 2013.
Currently, all traffic is traveling on the northbound bridge, two lanes in each direction, until the new southbound bridge structure is rebuilt. Construction on the new bridge is expected to begin early April 2013. Work will be done concurrently while the final demolition tasks take place.
Once this project is complete, citizens will enjoy two bridges, each with two travel lanes for vehicles, large shoulders and sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists. Construction of the new southbound bridge is expected to be complete in fall 2014.
For more information, contact Kelli Reyna at (512) 832-7060.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 11,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at TxDOT.gov. Fan us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.