In 1991 the Florida Department of Transportation gave the go ahead to demolish the old Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The Hardaway Company (the original builder of this bridge) formed the engineering and management team. I was assigned as Project Engineer with the overall responsibility for all field engineering operations.
The scope of the project required that all underwater piles and piers as well as surface roadway, girders, trusses and beams be dismantled. Special care had to be taken in removing underwater bridge elements near the shipping channel. Additionally, the concrete material, deck sections, pilings and concrete girders were to be collected in order to be placed offshore and along the remaining bridge approaches to become reefs for the new planned state fishing park. The main bridge span had to be removed in one piece in order not to block the main shipping channel leading to the port of Tampa.
During the disassembly work of the bridge's structural steel members, several difficult engineering challenges had to be resolved including the order of disassembly, a safe method for detonating charges on steel members in a publicly open and difficult to control area such as the Tampa Bay and the development of a safe methodology for the removal-in one piece-of the bridge’s main span. Below are some of my project photographs and notes.