Old Four Bears Bridge Is Falling Down in ND

Thu October 13, 2005 - Midwest Edition

Explosive charges were used for the first time Sept. 26 in the demolition of the old Four Bears Bridge at New Town. Demtech of Dubois, WY, used shaped charges to drop a 316-ft. section from the west end of the old bridge.

That section, which spanned the sandbar and water on the west side, was the first of 10 similar demolition events. About every four days, another section will be dropped in the water and then retrieved for recycling by Porter Brothers of Minot.

The large through-truss section of the bridge will be removed later in October. The remaining pier columns will be broken up with an excavator to water level, then removed using explosive charges.

Demtech was hired by the demolition contractor, Bollander and Sons of Saint Paul, MN, to handle the explosive work.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was scheduled for Oct. 3 to dedicate the new Four Bears Bridge. Dignitaries representing North Dakota, Three Affiliated Tribes, the federal government, North Dakota’s congressional delegation, tribal leaders from across the United States, international business representatives and city of New Town were set to be in attendance for the ceremony.

The old Four Bears Bridge, which was replaced because it was deemed unsuitable for modern traffic, has spanned the Missouri River for 50 years. The new $55.4 million bridge –– the largest bridge project in state history –– opened for traffic Sept. 2.

The new bridge took two years to build. CEG