Explosion Rips Through Old Marble Falls River Bridge
On Sunday, March 17, 2013 the Marble Falls River Bridge was demolished as part of a $30 million project to remove the seventy-seven year old bridge - constructed in 1936 - and to replace it with two side-by-side, two lane bridges. Once the wreckage is cleared in the next week, the project is estimated to be complete by Fall 2014.
The new bridges will have plenty of shoulder room and 6-foot-wide sidewalks. The bridge that was just demolished had minimal shoulder space and only one sidewalk. The northbound bridge, which opened in December, will be used as two way traffic until the southbound bridge can be erected - which will take the place of the old bridge.
Exploding the bridge cut at least one to three months off of the project time, but required approval from state wildlife, river and environmental regulators. After the explosion, almost 200 fish (17 species) were released downstream and seemed to be unaffected by the explosion. Among the fish was a 32-inch-long-nose gar and 20 large-mouth bass. Two ducks were also captured and relocated. Construction workers had grown fond of the ducks and had become the project mascots.
Although this project will eventually improve the conditions of the road, the explosion caused damage to a sewer line and a Verizon phone line. The sewer line delayed the reopening of the bridge until after 9 a.m, but the sewer line was repaired by 1:30 pm. The phone lines remained spotty throughout Sunday, but were soon resolved shortly after. The costs of the damages will be incurred by TxDOT's bridge contractor, Archer Western.