Explosion Destroys Kingston Bridge

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Kingston, Roane County (WVLT) - A piece of Roane County's history is just that.

Built after the Great Depression, the Old Highway 70 Bridge over the Clinch River came crashing down Tuesday.

Opened in 1931, the old highway 70 bridge drew a lot of local attention as 56 pounds of charges were placed on the bridge to bring it down in six sections.

The event drew local people and some students from a local college. As the time passed for it's demise, the crowd patiently waited and reflected.

"We thought it was going to blow up at eleven. That is when my one class is. I guess I should have went to class," says Abby Ross.

"I remember being a little kid you know traveling over the water and everything so I just wanted to come out and see what this is going to be like," says Jimmy Munsey.

The Highway 70 Bridge replaced the original bridge that was built in 1898 and survived just 32 years.

But shortly after the last vehicles were cleared from the interstate bridge, a 75-year-old landmark was destroyed.

For those who came, it was an exciting event that took just five seconds.

"It took a while for the sound to get here. That was pretty awesome, pretty much like shook my whole body," says Adam Newman.

"It was pretty exciting you know. It was kind of sad to see the old bridge go down but I guess it was worth the wait," Munsey says.

"It was sad to see it go down because it is a memory thing from when we used to go on vacation we used to come here to see my aunt so it was really sad," says Ross.

The old narrow two lane bridge is being replaced by a four lane bridge, removing some history but making way for the future.

"Well, I think the bridge has served us well for 75 years and it's nice to see the new bridge," says Boyd Smith, a Roane County Heritage Commission volunteer.

On a more historic note, the Highway 58 Bridge built during the same time and demolished last year was eligible for the National Historic Register.

County Historian Robert Bailey says oddly enough the Highway 70 Bridge was not and it's unknown just why.


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