5:25 p.m. update: Explosives worked according to plan, bridge collapsed onto itself
The explosives and cuts in the Broadway Bridge all functioned properly during Tuesday morning's detonation, but the bridge fell onto itself, preventing it from descending into the Arkansas River, said Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.
After the explosives failed, the detonation contractors inspected parts of the bridge in a cage that was lifted into the air by a crane. Then, the crane attached a cable to north end of the bride. A tugboat attached to two barges tried several times to use the cable to pull the bridge down but was unsuccessful.
As morning turned to afternoon, the crane moved the cable to the center of the bridge. This time with two tugboats pulling, the bridge tumbled into the water. It was almost five hours after the explosion.
"Construction is not a perfect science all the time," Straessle said.
He added that he was unsure if crews still had to retrieve all debris by 10 a.m. Wednesday. That was the original deadline, but he didn't know if it would change with the delayed demolition.
Even after the explosives failed to bring it down, Straessle said the bridge was never going to make it all the way through the day.
3:05 p.m. update: With help from tugboats, Broadway Bridge comes down
Tug boats pulled cables tied to the Broadway Bridge to bring down the span Tuesday afternoon, nearly five hours after explosives failed to collapse the bridge.
A series of nudges from the bridge's east side sent the structure into the Arkansas River, leaving only a few concrete arches and a sliver of the steel frame to be demolished.
Tuesday's failed detonation earlier in the day sparked an outpouring of social media chatter, including the creation of Broadway Bridge-themed accounts on Twitter and Facebook.
Noon update: Work continues to demolish arch
Crews will attempt to pull down the Broadway Bridge arch after explosives failed to collapse it into the Arkansas River.
Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, said workers were attaching a cable to the bridge shortly before noon and were then going to use tug boats to apply pressure. The hope is the bridge will then fall, Straessle said.
"It could happen at any moment," he said, noting the debris still must be cleared from the channel by 10 a.m. Wednesday despite the delay. "If they get this down right now, they could still make that time."
10:17 a.m. update: Explosives fail to bring down arch
The Broadway Bridge steel arch did not collapse into the Arkansas River after explosives went off as it was supposed to Tuesday morning.
Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, said crews were investigating why the arch didn't fall.
"It should have come down when the explosives ignited," Straessle said several minutes after they went off, sending plumes of black smoke into the air. "That did not happen. The structure is severely weakened and it could come down at any time."
Straessle said the bridge is "extremely dangerous" at the moment and it's unclear what the next step will be if it doesn't fall on its own.
"It's a testament to the structure itself that it didn't fall. It was built solid, I'll just say that."
Check back for updates and read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.