It was a blast delivered to the past as explosives brought down two sections of the century-old Saskatoon Traffic Bridge Sunday.
With a thunderous crack and boom that shook the frigid morning air and startled onlookers, the two large sections of concrete and steel plummeted to the ground in seconds.
Despite the biting cold, thousands of people packed the Broadway Bridge and surrounding sidewalks to watch the demolition of the city’s first vehicular bridge.
“Everything went exactly as planned,” major projects director Mike Gutek said.
The two southern spans of the bridge collapsed onto a dirt berm demolition crews constructed on the riverbed.
Assistant fire chief Dave Bykowy said police and fire crews were patrolling the exclusion zone, including on the river, to make sure people stayed back a safe distance.
“This was spectacular,” he said. “Considering how cold it is, we weren’t sure what to expect.”
Within the final three minutes before the demolition police did need to move some people out of the exclusion zone at Nutana Collegiate.
The City of Saskatoon expects clean up to take a couple weeks. Recovered steel will be recycled or sent for scrap.
Sunday’s demolition means three out of five spans have been taken down. Gutek said another span will come down before mid-April and the final span will be demolished next winter. Work on the new bridge will take place over the next three years, he said.