Underwater blasts speed Bayway demolition - FOX 13 News

Underwater blasts speed Bayway demolition

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ST. PETE BEACH (FOX 13) -

A series of small explosions underwater was all it took to break up the last pieces of the old Bayway Bridge to the beaches in St. Pete Beach.

The blasts threw water from Boca Ciega Bay into the air with a loud boom, but FDOT says everything went as planned.

Crews had to wait for wildlife to clear the area. Workers hired by the construction company were on hand specifically to spot protected wildlife. They told us they were not disappointed with what they saw and were glad no animals were injured in the blast.

"Basically, we tracked dolphins, there were a few manatees very far north. We had aerial observers in a helicopter," said Janice Ash, who is president of the Ash Group. "We saw dolphins, we saw a couple loggerhead turtles and that was largely it."

"It was a good boom!," Ash continued. "That type of impact does take out a couple of fish, so the birds were having a good time feeding afterwards."

Work on the east bound lanes is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014.

"By the end of the summer, the entire old drawbridge should be gone and then all the public will see is the new bridge going up," said Kris Carson with FDOT. "Until it's completely done, you're going to have one lane in each direction during the construction time."

The noise factor from the constant pile-driving as the new eastbound construction begins has some folks groaning, but they admit, it's a necessary evil.

Some say it's the sound of progress, but others say: enough with all the noise already.

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