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Underwater explosion demolishes part of old Pinellas Bayway bridge

ST. PETERSBURG — An underwater explosion set off to demolish parts of the old Pinellas Bayway bridge was more of a whimper than a bang Thursday afternoon.

The small blast arrived with a muffled thud, and it sent a single surge of water rushing several yards skyward. A state contractor had originally hoped to conduct the detonation at noon, but it did not go off until after 3 p.m. Before the blast, officials circled the area to clear out marine life.

Crews used the explosion to help remove two drawbridge foundations in the water. Before Thursday, about 30 percent of the old bridge had been demolished, and the rest is expected to come down by the end of the summer, the Florida Department of Transportation said.

The eastbound lanes of the new Bayway bridge, located above the old span, were closed for several hours Thursday. All lanes were shut during the detonation, and workers diverted traffic to the Corey Causeway.

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zsampson@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Twitter: @zacksampson.

Underwater explosion demolishes part of old Pinellas Bayway bridge 06/13/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 13, 2013 6:22pm]
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