Century Old Bridge Gone in One Second



At just a minute after 2 p.m. The Davis Avenue Bridge went up in a loud explosion and a cloud of smoke. The more than 100-year-old bridge was destroyed in an explosion that lasted only a second or two, an exclamation mark placed on more than a century of use. The bridge had been closed for almost 9 years up until now, the frequent example of important work on the Northside that had been ignored by many, championed by a few.

Residents from thousands of feet away were told to evacuate, and police patrolled every side street and alleyway that might lead closer to the bridge. Police even cleared the Shadeland Avenue bridge, citing safety concerns as they ushered people over to one side of the other.

The explosion itself was loud, but short. A plume of smoke trailed up into the sky shortly afterward. People craned to get a look.

For Audio of Explosion, go here.


For a KDKA video of implosion, go here.


Earlier Update: New plans for the Davis Avenue Bridge call for the demolition of the structure on May 6. According to people working on the demolition, people living within 1,000 feet of the building will be temporarily evacuated on the day of demolition to Riverview Park. The process is expected to take several hours. The cleanup of the demolition is expected to take up to 17 days. People evacuated for the day will be allowed to return to their homes.

Workers at the Allegheny Observatory plan to retract the large telescopic to avoid lens damage, and part of the demolition calls for the removal of cars in the area, and to cover fragile or breakable items.

Demolition will not begin during an overcast sky, as planners hope to avoid dust hanging in the air for long periods of time after the demolition.

More as the situation develops.

The Earlier Story posted below …

The Davis Avenue Bridge has bridge the gap between Riverview Park and Brighton Heights for more than 100 years, but after almost a decade of disrepair and a failed inspection, the bridge will now be demolished.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced April 27 in a press conference that the City had finalized plans for the controlled demolition of Davis Avenue Bridge. The cost is estimated at $758,000 and will take place in the second week of May. Once the bridge is demolished, the City estimates it will take at least 17 days to remove the debris.

Throughout this time, residents who had been evacuated because of safety concerns are being given a $200 a day stipend until they can return to their homes. Residents were first notified of the evacuation April 22.

The City’s engineering consultant, Michael Baker, Jr., Inc. issued a preliminary report indicating that the structure is in danger of collapse and recommended the bridge be immediately closed to pedestrian traffic, and that the area beneath it on Woods Run Road be immediately closed to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The report also recommends that the bridge be demolished as soon as possible.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris has publicly stated the need for repairs to the Davis Avenue Bridge for years, since the bridge had been closed to cars since 2001. She said that she had submitted requests for funding from all possible sources, but was not able to get funding to repair the bridge.

Last year, Harris was able to get the project listed on the Federal Transportation Improvement Project list, which would make it eligible for funding, the recent inspection that revealed the structural weaknesses was conducted as a review.

“I believe this could have been prevented by the bridge being worked on nine years ago,” Harris said. “These people did not ask for this and wouldn’t be in this situation they are in now if the city had done something nine years ago.”

The 396-foot long bridge will be imploded using explosives, and the City is trying to minimize damage to nearby homes.

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