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Last of bridge removed

More work still ahead for crews

February 25, 2012
By WARREN SCOTT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Crews involved with the demolition of the Fort Steuben Bridge pulled the last piece of the span from the Ohio River Friday afternoon, but there's still more work ahead, said an official with the contractor for the $2.3 million project.

"Everything is going according to plan," said Clint Filges, project manager with the Joseph B. Fay Co. of Russellton, Pa.

The company was ordered to clear the river of the large sections of the span that fell during Tuesday morning's explosive blast. Crews with the River Salvage Co. of Pittsburgh have been using cranes mounted on barges to remove the pieces, some weighing as much as 120,000 pounds, since.

Many other sections, including much of the span's deck, were removed before the blast.

Filges said crews were able to clear a channel for river traffic Tuesday night, 12 hours before the deadline ordered by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the railroad tracks on the Ohio side of the span were reopened within four hours after the blast.

The tracks had been covered with a 4-foot-wide timber crane mat, he said.

"Everything was executed just perfect," Filges said of the blast, which also involved Controlled Demolitions Inc. of Phoenix, Md.

Filges said there's still more work to be done, however. In the days ahead an excavator equipped with a hydraulic hammer and positioned on a barge will be used to break the remaining piers above the water, he said.

And in mid-March crews will use explosives to remove sections of the piers extending 3 feet below the river bed, he said.

Once the Ohio abutment is removed, crews will be removing installing drainage structures and removing the ramps, Filges said.

The ramps have served as a temporary detour around the bridge site in recent weeks and that will continue while crews continue to load debris from the bridge onto barges for transport to Strauss Industries, he said.

Filges said permanent barriers will be established at the span's former approaches.

All of the work is slated for completion by late July.



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CLEANUP COMPLETED — Crews with the Joseph B. Fay Co. of Russellton, Pa., and the River Salvage Co. of Pittsburgh removed the last section of the Fort Steuben Bridge from the Ohio River Friday afternoon. - Warren Scott