ROSCOE VILLAGE — After a weekend of round-the-clock pulverizing, the Western-Belmont viaduct is no more.
As witnesses of the demolition can attest, while the overpass might have appeared decrepit to motorists and pedestrians, its looks were clearly deceiving.
On Sunday, a small crowd of 20 onlookers gathered behind construction fencing in the vacated Sierra Auto parking lot to watch a pair of hydraulic excavators pound away at the viaduct's last remaining span.
With each flurry of blows delivered to the span's piers, gapers thought the slab was certain to come crashing to the street, but each time, it withstood the pummeling. Instead, it took hours of persistent hammering, the excavators chipping away at the overpass piece by piece, to bring the slab down.
The long-awaited demolition project got underway Friday night, and by Saturday afternoon a major section of the viaduct had been reduced to rubble at the intersection of Western and Belmont avenues. (Click through the slideshow above to see more photos.)
As the overpass spilled its "guts," its innards revealed a tumble of concrete and steel, as expected, but also heaps of cardboard.
No, the viaduct was not built of paper, a worker assured a reporter.
The overpass was constructed of pre-formed beams, which were delivered and installed wrapped in cardboard, he said.
Demolition of the viaduct will continue through Tuesday morning. The Western/Belmont/Clybourn intersection has reopened and, following a complete closure over the weekend, a single lane of traffic is moving through the area on northbound Western. Southbound Western remains closed at Belmont until 5 a.m. Tuesday.
Demolition got underway Friday, and by Sunday, most of the Western-Belmont viaduct had been reduced to rubble. [All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
The ramp to nowhere. Rubble included a surprising amount of cardboard, which had once wrapped the viaduct's beams.
Hydraulic excavators pummeled the viaduct's piers.
A final message, scrawled on the viaduct's north ramp.
Last span standing. It took hours for excavators to chip away at the concrete and steel.
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