SARANAC LAKE - A footbridge over the LaPan Highway section of state Route 3 was demolished today because its structure has been compromised, first by being hit by an excavator a year ago and then by being hit by a backhoe Thursday.
Both pieces of heavy machinery had been towed on trailers behind trucks when the booms hit the underside of the footbridge in the same spot.
Truckloads of sand were hauled in and spread under the bridge this morning to serve as a cushion to protect the road surface. Then an excavator tore the bridge down onto the sand-covered highway.
An excavator operated by state Department of Transportation worker Dustin Fuller tears down the pedestrian bridge over LaPan Highway in Saranac Lake late Friday morning.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
LaPan Highway was reopened later today. It had been closed since the backhoe hit the bridge around 3 p.m. Thursday.
DOT officials have said they plan to replace the bridge's center span with a new truss structure sometime this fall, but department spokesman Mike Flick said today that's still up in the air. He said DOT is concerned about whether the bridge's abutments, which it had planned to keep in place, are strong enough to hold a new bridge.