BURNHAM — Here's something you don't read every day: The state is going to blow up a bridge on Thursday, weather permitting, of course.
The past-its-prime Torrence Avenue Bridge over the Grand Calumet River on Chicago's Far Southeast Side is slated for demolition, and the state says it needs to use explosives as part of the demo.
So cover your ears sometime before noon Thursday if you're in the area, unless the expected lousy weather scrubs the fireworks.
How visible the show will be is unclear. Workers are expected to cordon off at least 1,000 feet in every direction in the already remote area.
The bridge, located about a mile south of 130th Street in the city's Burnham neighborhood, was shut down last May after a routine inspection revealed structural steel had deteriorated and was no longer safe, the state said.
A new bridge is planned and could be ready by next summer. It will feature a bike path and sidewalk.
But first, the old one must go. The demolition already has begun, but the Illinois Department of Transportation said "a bridge explosion is necessary to blast the existing framework into the Grand Calumet River where it will be dismantled."
Traffic has been detoured since last summer. Northbound cars and trucks have been sent east on Sibley Boulevard, north on Burnham Avenue and northwest on Brainard Avenue to reconnect with Torrence. Southbound motorists reverse that route.
The Torrence Avenue Bridge over the Grand Calumet River. (Google)
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