Caught on Cam: Bridge explosion

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STEUBENVILLE, Ohio -- After decades of use and months of planning, it took just seconds for Ohio's Fort Steuben Bridge to come down.

The bridge was imploded as scheduled at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

The bridge crumbled in a matter of seconds following a series of small blasts.

Initial charges were first visible across the deck of the bridge followed by secondary charges on the towers.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials said that crews were standing by to begin removing the debris from the river.

That process was scheduled to be completed by nightfall Tuesday.

Crews used 490 shaped charges and 153 pounds of explosives that had been strategically mounted in 136 locations all over the bridge.

"Basically what we're doing is just cutting the steel. We're using almost like a remote torch but we'll be 500 feet away when we detonate it," said Doug Loizeaux of Controlled Demolition Inc.

The truss and cable sections of the bridge were blasted, which rotated the two main towers toward each shoreline.

Just milliseconds later, the towers shot into sections, making it easier for crews to remove parts from the Ohio River.

Several parts of the bridge were removed well in advance to prepare for the implosion.

The 83-year-old bridge was one of four similar bridges built across the Ohio River in 1929 and had wire cables suspending its 1,255-foot span.

Of the four like it, the Fort Steuben Bridge is the last to be demolished.

Travel demand for the Fort Steuben Bridge continued to decrease over the years as weight restrictions were placed on the aging structure.

In 1990, the Veterans Memorial Bridge was built, serving as a new connector for Brooke and Jefferson counties and relocating the increasing volume of Route 22 traffic from the deteriorating bridge.

The Fort Steuben Bridge closed to traffic in January 2009 and was deemed structurally deficient and functionally obsolete by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

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