WATCH: Portion Of Tempe Town Lake Rail Bridge Demolished

Published: Saturday, August 1, 2020 - 2:17pm
Updated: Sunday, August 2, 2020 - 9:33pm

Shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, workers with Union Pacific demolished a 150-foot section of the rail bridge over Tempe Town Lake after it was damaged in last week’s derailment accident.

Union Pacific used explosive charges to bring down the damaged section. Tempe's assistant fire chief Andrea Glass says the demolition was successful.

"The operation was done without any injuries, and an all-clear was given for the site," she said in a press conference.

Between 7 and 9 a.m., nearby residents and businesses had to evacuate, and utilities were shut down. Shortly after the demolition, APS and Southwest Gas began inspecting their utility lines for damage.

The hazardous chemical originally in the tank cars has been removed, but some residue still remains inside the cars themselves. Union Pacific spokesman Clint Schelbitzki says the next steps involve clearing the residue from those cars and removing debris.

"At some point (Sunday) we'll have a team in there clearing out the residue so that we can safely remove those tank cars that remain on the ground," Schelbitzki said.

Reconstructing the bridge is still in the planning phase, he said. But he expects the new sections of the bridge to look different.

"The new sections that are going to be reconstructed will look a little different," he said. "They'll look like a traditional bridge that you'd see over a regular roadway today."

The cause of the derailment and fire is still under investigation.

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