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Madison Monday

Madison Monday: Bridge Demolition, Part 1

By July 24, 20132 Comments

Some things you don’t really realize about watching a bridge get blown up until you’ve actually been there:

Boom. First, it’s loud. So, yeah, you think you understand on an intellectual level that it’s going to be loud. But what you cannot quite fathom beforehand is that it’s going to the kind of loud that is experienced deep inside your bodily tissue. This is the kind of noise that is so loud, even your liver can feel it. It is that kind of loud.

milton madison bridge demolition

After the demolition

3…2…1…Crap. There is no way to really prepare yourself for this noise. You can countdown (I heard people doing this in some of the videos from yesterday). You can say to yourself, “This is going to be loud.” You can remember all the really loud noises you have ever heard in the past and imagine it will be like that. But in the end, you will not really be prepared.

Adrenaline. Because this is the kind of noise that you experience right along with your liver, you will have a bodily reaction. My body knew all about this noise long before my brain caught up. My heart was pounding. My hands started shaking. My limbic system was saying to me, “That was some scary shit and we need to get the hell out of here. NOW!” Did anyone else feel like moving towards the source of that sound in order to see what the wreckage looked like afterwards was kind of wrong on some level? That’s because we’re supposed to run away from the loud, scary noises.

Light travels faster than sound. Yes, even at the small distances involved in watching a bridge collapse. You saw the explosion before you heard it. This was true no matter where you were. The folks watching from halfway up the hill and me standing on East St. Everyone talked about the delay between seeing the explosion and hearing it. Very disconcerting. Very weird. Probably part of why it scares the crap out of you to watch. But true.

milton madison bridge demolition

People who would be happy to buy coffee and donuts

The river is not so deep. The damn thing didn’t sink. Did anyone else expect it to sink? Or was that just me who was that stupid? Yes, part of the span was still attached to the bridge, which was not, I believe, the way things were supposed to go. But still, this section of the span is sitting in water that is only 24 feet deep. 24 feet! Like, 4 times my husband’s height? That just does not seem right.

You have to be there. You do. I watched all the videos. All the angles. They were cool. None of them captured the being there. Because your liver can’t really feel the blast when you’re watching it on a smartphone. And you’re not surrounded by all the other people who are crazy enough to show up to watch a bridge blow up. But it’s worth it. And it’s not too late. More explosions to come.

Where are the food trucks? This is not something you realize when you watch a bridge explode, but shouldn’t someone tell the food trucks in Louisville about this? Shouldn’t someone be selling coffee or donuts? There’s money-making opportunity here, people.

Check out my footage for the bridge explosion here. Other footage here and here .


  • Douglas Perry says:

    I’m sure you’re right about the sonic power of that explosion. I was in my (solid brick) home a few blocks away, and I could feel that blast up through my feet–no exaggeration.

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