Hat tip to my favorite Mick Jones band for the title of this post. I hiked a long ways today, humping some very heavy gear all over the Bismarck-Mandan area to capture lots of photos. I also had a hand in shooting high-definition (HD) video of the area today too, but I don't own that footage. Sorry. My personal camcorder was rolling, but the footage didn't turn out as well as my footage of Span One going down. So I'll stick to my primary objective: here are the pics!
People were lining the hills from above the railroad bridge all the way to the hill north of I-94. Doing so only provided a view of the middle span.
Speaking of the middle span, there was a lot of confusion as to why it came down in one giant piece. I'll tell you what the explosives expert of the demolition crew told me. Before they install their shape charges, they cut the bolts anchoring the bridge spans to the pilings. They can't be cutting them with a grinder and sending sparks all over their explosives once they've been placed, after all. They had the east span rigged as well as the bottom of the middle span, but then the winds came up. They didn't want to risk their guys being on the top of the middle span if the wind blew it over, so they opted to drop it and finish cutting it on the ground with torches. Notice that in the days before the demolition, they pushed rocks and dirt out below the bridge. That allows the crews to have land on which to salvage the steel, much easier than hunting around the water.
Notice the piece on the right hand side, the top of the pier that underwent repairs in an attempt to help the old bridge limp along. The repaired areas served their purposes, keeping the old bridge in operation until the crews were ready to take 'er down.
Thanks to the guys who let me poke around a little bit where the cleanup occurred. I liked the arch of this digger reaching over the pillars of the last remaining bridge support. In the background, the big nasty machinery is chewing up the metal as we speak. As of this evening, they pretty much had the east span cleaned up.
How about those jaws? This machine reminds me of that James Bond villain. This guy's got a pretty fun job, I bet. Chewin' up steel. I can see how a feller could derive a great deal of satisfaction from it.
By the way, I heard they're saving chunks of the bridge like this in order to put them in the park on either end of the new bridge. Obviously they have a lot of work to do on those areas, and are making a lot of progress on the west end, but now that the other bridge is going away I imagine they'll make quick work of the memorial park on the east end too. They just have a lot of rubble and debris to remove first.
Coolest souvenirs of the day: these are pieces of shrapnel from the shaped charges that brought down the mighty Memorial Bridge. I got them from the demolition crew that was doing the aforementioned cleanup. They appear to be copper, and I guess they flew away from the detonation at an extremely high rate of speed. Thankfully these two managed to land in my hands. I'll keep them forever as a souvenir of the old humming bridge.
Coolest unexpected shot of the day: this guy was flying circles around the area reminding everybody to vote McCain-Palin next week. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, but I suggest you vote against socialism. Against rabid gun control. Against infanticide. Against domestic terrorists. You get the picture. I Photoshopped this shot to bring the banner in closer to the plane...the drag line was actually a lot longer.
By the way, hats off to Brad Feldman for his coverage of this thing from start to finish. I was present videotaping at the symbolic groundbreaking with Senator Conrad way back when, and I think he was there as well...and he's followed this project tirelessly. He had cool ideas like putting cameras in one of the houses next to the bridge blast, and loves Bismarck-Mandan as much as I do. I asked my wife to record KFYR and KXMB coverage on DVD here at the house, and can't wait to go back and watch them both.
So...what's next? Got anything else we need to blow up?
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Yes, that's right...one more day. The last two spans of the local landmark come crashing down Wednesday morning. Sad, isn't it? The turnout was so amazing for the last one, I can't wait to see how many people show up for this one! I've got my spot picked out...do you?
Thanks to Mike at the DOT for this map. It indicates the road closures as well as the Safe Zone. If anyone remains in that gray area, the crew can't pull the trigger. So stay out!
If you want a copy of this map, click here for a PDF you can print and take with you. You'd better come early! There are a lot of eager spectators and the roads are closed before the boom. There were cars down there at 7:30am when I arrived last time!
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The cover of this month's Beacon is a shot I took while in so much pain I was literally in tears. That didn't stop the photo trip from continuing until mid-day, when I finally couldn't handle the pain any more and had to turn back toward Bismarck. This is a Ransom County road, just outside the beautiful little town of Fort Ransom. They brag up their town as North Dakota's best kept secret, and I think they're absolutely right.
Well, this is it - the election is a week away. If you're looking for political viewpoints, and interesting information on North Dakota's ballot measures, go pick up a Beacon. Complimentary copies are available at most area convenience stores, as well as some dispenser boxes such as the one on Rosser in front of the Federal Building. If you like it, and I think you will, please subscribe and help reward publisher Steve Cates for his excellent work!
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I posted this photo, the result of a Photo Club exercise at work, back in August 2006. Less than an hour later, Jason had already guessed the correct location: the bank on 4th and Rosser. Well, the familiar exterior of the bank is changing.
These workers are taking down that familiar jagged exterior and replacing it with some of those new blue-tinted mirrored windows. Jagged panels: old and busted. Blue mirrored: new hotness.
I'm sure they probably figured it was about time, and the new windows are probably more energy efficient, and the bank across the street is remodeling too. But it is sad to see familiar sights around Bismarck go away. That's the price of progress, I suppose.
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In fact it brings me back a favorite memory.
Of you laughing in the rain,
Your clothes are soaking wet...
Standin' 'neath the branches waitin' for a kiss.
The rain is working very hard,
Itís got to water every little seed.
Itís beautifully ordinary,
Making life seem very good indeed... (whoa-oh, whoa-oh)
Life with you is very good indeed... (whoa-oh, whoa-oh)
The rain keeps falliní down...
("The Rain" - by the Subdudes, but best performed by my friends Tucker'd Out.)
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