BIG SUR (KPIX 5) — It could take crews until the end of the week to finish tearing down the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge near Big Sur.
Right now, engineers are trying to figure out the best way to demolish the rest of the bridge. It’s the southernmost section called Span Number One. And it is quite an engineering challenge.
Over the weekend, crews took down the middle section known as Span Number Two. The demolition crew made quick work of the middle span.
They used large jackhammer like machine can you break apart the bridge, and let gravity take care of the rest.
As for the remaining span, on Monday, engineers were probing at the concrete seams. It is perched on a concrete pillar, and will likely be taken down over the next few days as well.
The next big job is to haul the tons of debris out of the 100-foot-deep canyon. It will be treacherous work. The plan for now is to build some kind of road to get heavy equipment down there.
As for the design of the replacement bridge, it will not have columns, but instead will be a single steel span, stretching more than 100 feet across the canyon.
At the Roadhouse Grill in Big Sur, the loss of the bridge cut down customer traffic from the south, reducing business by about 25 percent.
“Created loss of job, unemployment,” said Roadhouse grill employee Tommy Howbert. “Some people can’t get back to their houses.”
It will be a long couple of months while they wait for the new bridge.
“North coast, we’ll probably be fine,” said Howbert. “Yeah, I ‘m sure there are some mom and pop shops that are going to need some help.”
Typically a bridge of this size takes nine to 12 months to build. Caltrans officials said they are expediting the process here. They may have one lane open for locals only in less than 6 months.