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Track excavators, aided by smaller units, slam five-ton hydraulic hammers Nov. 5 into what's left of the roughly 400-foot-long, 90-foot-wide I-25 bridge that used to carry traffic over Cimarron Street/Highway 24. The demolition effort had started the night before. Cimarron and both northbound ramps had to be closed for the job, which started the night of Nov. 4; all were open again by noon Nov. 6.

Old Cimarron/I-25 bridge is history after weekend demolition job

      
During the demolition of the old Cimarron/I-25 bridge shortly after dawn Nov. 5, a northbound Ramblin' Express bus cruises past the project along the lengthwise "half" of the new interstate bridge, which had recently been opened to traffic. Although the old bridge was just east of the new one, the Nov. 4-6 demo had no impact on it, and the interstate stayed open during the work.
UPDATE, Nov. 10: Two more photos have been added at the bottom of this page (credits are provided below this story).

       The old Cimarron/I-25 bridge is dead. Long live - once it's built over the next several months - the new one.
       A weekend demolition project that started the night of Nov. 4 and finished 25 hours sooner than expected reduced the old bridge deck to rubble by dawn Nov. 5. That afternoon, all that remained was one of its piers and part of the pier cap (cross-member).
       At 2 a.m. Nov. 6, those too were gone and enough of the rubble had been cleared to let the contractor, Kraemer North America, reopen Cimarron Street under the interchange. By noon that day all the ramps were also open again.
       Previously, Kraemer project manager Mike Ingram had described the removal of the roughly 400-foot-long span as one of the major milestones in the $113 million Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) interchange replacement project. The effort marks the transition to the project's Phase 2, he said.
       Kraemer started work in May 2015, and overall completion is scheduled by the end of 2017.
       The old bridge - actually built as two bridges in 1959 with capacity added between them in the 1990s - was brought down chiefly through the repeated pounding of
A bulldozer rumbles back for another load of rubble the morning of Nov. 5. All that were standing at this point were a few of the pier columns and caps that had supported the old structure. The bridge deck had been knocked away during the night.
three giant track excavators equipped with five-ton hydraulic breaker attachments. In between, numerous other types of heavy equipment slipped in to scoop up the rubble, break up the concrete to salvage the recyclable rebar (some of it an inch wide), and load the stuff onto trucks to be hauled away.
       CDOT's advance notices on the bridge demo had advised that Cimarron and both northbound ramps would have to be closed from 9 p.m. Nov. 4 until 5 a.m. Nov. 7.
       Don Garcia of Wilson and Company, a project consultant to CDOT, offered two main reasons for the destruction occurring so much sooner. He said Kraemer had gotten a head start on the work by hammering on the side segments (the ones not above Cimarron Street) the nights of Nov. 2 and 3.
       Also, a decision was made to temporarily install pipes for Fountain Creek under the interchange and cover them with at least 10 feet of dirt. That way, the broken pieces of the old bridge did not fall into the creek, Garcia explained.
       The pipe configuration will last about five months, he added, after which the dirt and pipes will be removed and that creek segment upgraded (as part of the project) to a more natural state, with the Midland Trail beside it.
       In the preceding months, Kraemer had built the first "half" (80 feet wide) of the new, 151-foot-wide bridge just west of the old one. With that segment's completion in October, interstate traffic in both directions was relocated to it. This enabled the interstate to stay open, with three lanes in either direction, throughout the Nov. 4-6 destruction of the old bridge.
       As a size comparison, the entire width of the old bridge was just 90 feet, Ingram said. The new bridge's eastern half will be built between now and summer 2017, according to the project schedule.
       “We appreciate the efforts of Kraemer, the project contractor, and project team to get the bridge demolition work done both efficiently and safely,” said Dave Watt, CDOT's project manager. “We know the temporary closure of US 24/Cimarron Street was an inconvenience for the traveling public, so, it's a bonus the work was completed earlier than originally expected.”
       Watt has also said previously that the new bridge will be safer and better handle traffic demands that are over 10 times greater than when the original bridge went in.

Westside Pioneer article and photos, except for courtesy photos - second from the bottom, by Colorado Department of Transportation; and bottom, by Cherry Creek Recycling
(Posted 11/6/16, updated with two new photos 11/10/16; Transportation: Cimarron/I-25)

On the afternoon of Nov. 5, with the old bridge reduced to mostly rubble, a backhoe claws at concrete pieces to break free the recyclable rebar while a bulldozer picks up debris.
Equipment of various shapes and sizes work on the rubble the afternoon of Nov. 5 during the Cimarron/I-25 bridge demolition job.
Temporary pipes carrying Fountain Creek's flow under the Cimarron/I-25 interchange are seen as contracted equipment cleans up the debris after the old bridge was torn down Nov. 4-6. The interim northbound on-ramp also goes across the dirt compacted above the pipes. The configuration is to last for about five months, after which the dirt will be removed and the creek there restored. At far right, members of the construction team look on.
A view looking north shows another view of the rubble cleanup after the demolition. At left can be seen northbound traffic on the half of the new bridge that's been built. The other half will be built through the area where the equipment is.
In a photo taken the night of Nov. 4, an excavator uses its hydraulic hammer to knock down part of the deck that was formerly used for traffic on the old Cimarron/I-25 bridge.
An aerial photo (taken by a drone) shows the cleanup work in the wake of the Nov. 4-6 demolition of the old Cimarron bridge. The recently built "half" of the new bridge temporarily carries interstate traffic in both directions. North is to the right. For obvious reasons, Cimarron Street/Highway 24 was closed at the interchange during that weekend.

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