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Maine bridge proves tougher than expected to demo

NEW SHARON, Maine (AP) — A century-old Maine bridge deemed in danger of collapsing proved tougher than expected when the state tried to demolish it.

The bridge across the Sandy River in New Sharon was built in 1916 but hasn't been used since the 1990s. The Maine Department of Transportation told New Sharon officials in November that it was in danger of collapsing and that the state would pay to remove it.

An initial blast of explosives failed to bring the structure down as planned Thursday afternoon, because there were steel beams in the abutments that officials weren't aware of, the Morning Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/NCpv8u).

"It's an old bridge and there just wasn't a lot of information available about its construction," said project manager Andy McPherson of CPM Constructors. The bridge eventually came down about three hours after the blast, and an excavator finished the job. The bridge will be cut into pieces before removal.

"It just collapsed perfectly," McPherson said. "It went straight down so we can actually use the bridge itself to get into the water."

Information from: Morning Sentinel, http://www.onlinesentinel.com/

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