Governments' Lighter Side

A bridge too strong

In order to progress, sometimes you have to clear out the old to make way for the new – but sometimes the old simply refuses to go.

Such was the case in Maine last week when a century-old bridge deemed in danger of collapsing proved stronger than expected, according to the Associated Press.

Spanning the Sandy River in New Sharon, the bridge in question was built in 1916, but hadn’t been in use since the 1990s, the AP reports. Maine Department of Transportation officials warned the city the bridge was in danger of collapsing, and the state would pay for its removal.

But it seems the bridge wasn’t as shaky as the DOT anticipated. An initial explosive charge failed to bring the structure down; when the smoke cleared, the bridge stood, the Portland Press Herald reports.

Onlookers held up camera phones in silence for minutes after the anti-climactic explosion, waiting for the bridge to fall. When it became clear the bridge would stand, the Portland Press Herald reported spectators began to ask officials on scene what had gone wrong.

Project Manager Andy McPherson said the problem was steel beams in the bridge’s abutments, which were not included in original plans. “It’s an old bridge and there just wasn’t a lot available about it’s construction,” he told the paper.

It took an excavator to finally finish off the bridge – about three hours after the initial, ineffective blast, the Portland Press Herald reported.

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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