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Big Sur bridge demolition resumes after two-day delay

Construction crews renewed their efforts Wednesday, March 15, 2017 to demolish the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur.
Construction crews renewed their efforts Wednesday, March 15, 2017 to demolish the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur.

After a two-day delay, demolition of the cracked and collapsing Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge resumed Wednesday, Caltrans announced.

The demolition continued until sundown and will begin again Thursday morning, Caltrans District 5 spokeswoman Susana Cruz said Wednesday evening.

Originally, the bridge was scheduled to be demolished Monday morning, but the 6,000-pound wrecking ball couldn’t break the bridge’s supports.

This time, crews changed the arm of the crane so that the wrecking ball would be able to drop with more force, Cruz said. They also swapped two of the valves in the crane equipment in order to allow for a more direct free fall, she said.

Still, Cruz said that even with the additional force, it’s a slow and methodical process. Though she said operations are going well, the demolition could continue past Thursday.

During recent storms, the bridge shifted several feet and two of its three columns were fractured. Officials declared a permanent closure in mid-February, saying the bridge was “damaged beyond repair.”

Construction of a new bridge could take at least six months. Caltrans does not have a price estimate yet for the new bridge, contracted by Golden State Engineering and designed by Caltrans Structure Design, but construction could cost between $20 million and $30 million.

Take in the beauty of the Central Coast with these aerial views of Big Sur, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, San Simeon and Moonstone Beach in Cambria, filmed in May 2016.

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