Explosives take down old bridge spanning Illinois River

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MEREDOSIA, Ill. – Booms rang out as explosive charges brought down a steel bridge that had spanned the Illinois River since 1936.

Several hundred people watched Wednesday morning as the explosion sent the old Illinois 104 bridge crashing into the river at the Morgan County community of Meredosia about 50 miles west of Springfield.

The old bridge had been replaced by a new $86 million span that opened to traffic in June. The new bridge just to the north has wider traffic lanes and 10-foot shoulders, where the old bridge had no shoulder areas.

Traffic was blocked from the new bridge while the demolition was caried out. Officials expected to keep the river closed to commercial and private boat traffic for 24 hours so crews could remove the bridge debris.

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