The previous Illinois Highway 104 Meredosia Bridge crossing the Illinois River was over 2,200 feet long and stood firm for 82 years.
Today at approximately 8:30 a.m., the all-clear was given for the implosion of the old bridge to move forward. At around 8:32, the old trusses hit the Illinois River.
Steve Halverson, president of Halverson Construction, says he is content with the process and safety precautions taken.
“Overall, it went as planned. We were delayed a little bit by the weather and one boat that somehow got downriver and we had to sort of wait for them. Lots of cooperation and things went very well.”
Tom Heuer is the Safety Director for Halverson. Heuer describes what the next 24 hours will look like for Halverson crews.
“We will be removing the spans from the river channel, and navigation must be able to resume in 24 hours. We will be working around the clock until it is back open tomorrow morning.”
John Sestak is a Construction Field Engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Sestak breaks down the physical processes of the implosion.
“The main span that fell into the water was split into 11 pieces, the largest of which was about 121,000 pounds, so they’re able to lift it with the 450-ton crane. It was basically a copper pipe that surrounded the explosive charge with a V-notch on one side. They place that V-notch towards the steel they want to cut, and when the explosion goes off it melts and accelerates the copper, and that’s what cuts through the steel.”
Phil McCarty is the Morgan County Emergency Management Coordinator. McCarty says three counties pooled their resources to ensure public safety.
“We had coordination between Fire, EMS, and Police from Brown, Pike, and Morgan counties, as well as state assets from IDOT, ISP Districts 9 and 20, the state Department of Natural Resources.”
The new IL-104 bridge, which is 2,127 feet long in total, stands 250 feet north of where the previous bridge stood.