Final preparations made ahead of Highway 47 Bridge demolition

UPDATE: MoDOT rescheduled the Route 47 Bridge demolition to 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

WASHINGTON, Mo. – The residents of Washington, Missouri are preparing for a loud boom Thursday morning.

An old Highway 47 Bridge will come tumbling down after hundreds of explosives are set off.

The bridge opened in 1936. It will be about 83 years old when it falls into the Missouri River.

Photographer Mark Hertich plans to be in place to watch Thursday morning.

“It’s just a cool thing to do,” he said. “Good pictures, you know.”

Fellow photographer Bob Barton is also looking forward to the demolition. He’s seen other bridges come down over the years.

“Seeing a bridge getting blown up is really cool, I mean, it’s so loud,” he said. “The first thing you notice is all the pigeons flying and then you see them take off flying before you hear the sound of the explosion.”

A time-lapse video showed the construction of the new $63 million bridge which opened in December. The old one is now wired with 700 explosives. The explosion will look somewhat similar to when the Boone Bridge was brought down in March 2016.

Engineers expect the Highway 47 Bridge to be blown into 30 pieces, each weighing anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 pounds. They’ll eventually be fished out of the Missouri River.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” said Jason Marschel, an owner of the wrecking company responsible for the bridge demolition.

Marschel grew up in the area and traveled across the bridge many times. Although his company has taken down several structures, this is the first involving explosives.

“I would highly suggest if you’re going to come watch, I would get here early,” he said.

People will be able to watch the demolition upstream from the James W. Rennick Riverfront Park.

JoAnn Willis stopped by for one last look Wednesday.

It’s sentimental to me,” she said. “We’d always walk across when the flood happened; be on there with my children and stuff.”

The engineers said the demolition should take about 1.8 seconds.

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