a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, July 11, 2011

Journalists startle birds at bridge implosion

A killdeer guards its nest today from journalists gathered to report on a bridge implosion near Monessen, Pa. (Scott Beveridge photo)

By Scott Beveridge

MONESSEN, Pa. – A gaggle of journalists played havoc today on two nesting birds otherwise left to themselves along the banks of the Monongahela River.

The reporters and cameramen had gathered near the nesting killdeer alongside a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers locks and dam in Rostraver Township to document an implosion of the historic,105-year-old Charleroi-Monessen Bridge.

Journalists from across Southwestern Pennsylvania await an implosion of the Charleroi-Monessen Bridge (Scott Beveridge)

The anxious shorebirds had already selected a spot nearby at Locks and Dam No. 4 to lay a speckled black and white egg on the ground perfectly disguised among some gravel. For added measure against intruders lock workers had already encircled the nest with some larger stones and three orange construction cones to keep away the mediafest.

It was really cool to watch the killdeer attempt to lure some from the nest. One pretended to have a broken wing while the other seemed to entice people away from the nest by running a short distance in another direction only to stop, turn around and then scamper away again.

One of the birds later let out a screech when an absent minded TV guy nearly tripped over an orange cones there while taking a microphone to a camera set up for the demolition at the edge of the lock wall.

The old camelback span eventually dropped to the river in two seconds after a series of 500 charges were set off in 150 pounds of explosives connected to 8,000 feet of detonation cord.

From a distance about the length of two football fields the 8:55 a.m. explosions were startling and could be felt deep in the chest. It was an awesome sight.

So my morning was greeted with two very cool experiences.

Explosives take fire before the bridge is reduced to rubble within seconds. (Scott Beveridge photo)


shawnamcc said...

That's pretty slick!

And damn, I should have drove down there for that.

It would have been a great scene to take pictures for the photojournalism class I'm taking right now. Missed it! :(

Anonymous said...

And -- so many of the people there did not even notice them... great find.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this piece--also "camelback span" is an awesome description.

Your Minneapolitan Cousin