National safely removed a seven-span bridge over two navigable waterways using explosives and had the main channel reopened that same day.
National Salvage & Service Corporation dismantled a seven-span, 728-foot bridge where the Cheat River and the Monongahela River — both navigable waterways — meet. After obtaining approval from the Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers, National removed the bridge’s rails, cut it at strategic locations to weaken the structure and felled the bridge using explosives, before quickly removing the debris — which dropped into the river in four clean sections — with a 250-ton barge crane and material barges.
Once the bridge and its piers were demolished and removed, National swept the river bottom to ensure there was no debris left. The crane and barges were brought in prior to the blast so that the bridge could be removed from the river as quickly as possible. The main channel was cleared that day.
National salvaged and recycled 90 percent of the railroad ties and 100 percent of the bridge’s steel.
National minimized liability by sending a seismologist to notify nearby residents of the upcoming blast and take pictures of windows and foundations in the area to record any pre-existing cracks or broken windows. People were cleared within 1,000 feet of the bridge, and National had the local fire department shut down pedestrian and vehicular traffic on a nearby highway bridge and the county road on the west side of the river.
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