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Sept. 15: David Ramsdale, owner of Backhoe Services, watches two of his heavy units team up on the demolition of a 45-foot lengthwise segment of the old Fillmore/I-25 bridge during overnight work Sept. 15. At left is a Caterpillar 330; at right is a John Deere 330CLC. Each weighs 77,000 pounds and is using a 10,000- pound, hydraulic breaker attachment. The view is from I-25 (closed for the night at the interchange), looking south.

Photo essay: Cutting the old Fillmore bridge down to size - Phase 2

Sept. 15: The long arm and breaker attachment of an excavator resembles a preying mantis as it attacks a girder on the 45-foot-wide segment of the old Fillmore bridge that was being removed. In the background can be seen a line of cars being routed around the interchange on the southbound off-ramp.
       The latest milestone has been achieved in the Fillmore/I-25 interchange project, with the successful removal of the northern, 45-foot-wide segment of the old bridge.
       Overnight work in two phases over the past two weeks got the job done the night of Sept. 16, although final demolition work on the east and west sides of the traffic lanes will continue for several days, according to David Ramsdale, whose Backhoe Services company handled the operation, using a variety of heavy equipment.
       This should mean the end of overnight closures at the interchange for at least a few weeks, according to a spokesperson for SEMA Construction, the project contractor for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). In the meantime, eastbound traffic will be using the new south bridge (completed in early September) while westbound traffic will use the remaining 28-foot width of the old bridge.
       Plans call for work to start soon on caissons for the piers to support the new north bridge, which will go in the space where the cut-away section of the old bridge was.
       The demolition work was preceded by a series of cuts on the old bridge with large, high-powered saws - the first ones through the 10-inch-thick bridge deck, followed by deeper ones (up to 6 feet) to separate the columns (called "pier caps") that were earmarked for removal. This allowed his large excavating rigs (up to 40 tons in weight, using hydraulic drivers with hammer attachments), to smash away at the old piers and girders without harming the 28- foot portion, Ramsdale explained.
       During the work, concrete chunks - from small sizes to a ton or more - fell to the interstate below, which had been covered with a layer of dirt to protect the driving surface.
       All the dirt and debris were cleaned up by early morning Sept. 17, so that motorists on Fillmore - who until Sept. 9 were still using only the old bridge, which was then at its full width - found the current new bridge/old-but-narrower bridge alignment (as described above).
       Further details are provided in the cutlines for the photos on this page, most of which were shot the nights of Sept. 15 and 16.
       The $15.1 million project is slated for completion by next summer. A more certain date has not been officially announced because much of the work on the north bridge - as well as the ensuing demolition of the 28-foot old segment - will occur during the colder months, meaning weather could be a factor.
       A Westside Pioneer article from six days ago, "Cutting the old Fillmore bridge down to size - Phase 1," can be accessed by clicking this link.
Later Sept. 15: The John Deere unit had to be temporarily retired for repairs, leaving the Caterpillar to mash away by itself for a while.
Looking east from Fillmore Street, this was how the Fillmore interchange looked on the morning of Sept. 16 - in a one-day-only view - after the first night of demolition work to remove a 45- foot-wide segment of the old bridge. Although it's not fully clear from this angle, the central girders (those on either side of the middle set of columns with cross-members) had been removed at this point.
Sept. 16: This is the first of three sequential shots, showing a girder and cross-member from the old bridge coming down together during the demolition, while workers with CDOT, SEMA and Backhoe Services watch from the bridge. Note the straight saw cut below the concrete barrier, which allowed the to-be-demolished portion of the old bridge to be pulled away without damaging the segment that's being retained for now. The next two photos in the sequence appear below.
Sept. 16: The sequential shots after the photo above... LEFT: The weakened, broken beams start to fall. RIGHT: Complete collapse.
Sept. 16... LEFT: A cloud of dust from the demolition work envelopes the Caterpillar cab. RIGHT: A Backhoe Services worker uses a welding torch to cut rebar from the old bridge into manageable sizes for recycling.
Sept. 16: After repeated hits with the Caterpillar's hammer attachment, the remnant of one of the last pier caps (the column pair with cross-member) teeters before falling.
This was how the Fillmore/I-25 bridge looked on the morning of Sept. 17, after the final overnight interchange closure to demolish the northerly 45-foot-wide segment of the old bridge. As planned, additional work continues (background left) to remove the abutments for that part of the old bridge, and a thicket of salvaged rebar awaits removal on the west side of the interstate. The new north bridge will go approximately where the removed old section was. Westbound traffic moves over the remaining 28-foot-wide segment and eastbound traffic over the new south bridge (defined by the raised ornamental piers on either side). In the foreground are vehicles approaching the interchange from the temporary southbound I-25 off-ramp. The photo was taken looking southeast from the Kum & Go parking lot at Fillmore and Chestnut.

Westside Pioneer article and photos
(Posted 9/17/15; Transportation: Fillmore/I-25)

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