1. ITV Report

Controlled detonation of two-mile bridge caught on video

Explosives go off as the viaduct collapses during a controlled demolition in Wuhan, Hubei province Photo: REUTERS/Stringer

A concrete viaduct more than two miles in length was blown up with dynamite last night while the people of Wuhan in central China were asleep.

The mammoth demolition job set a national record for the longest reinforced concrete bridge ever demolished.

It took just a few seconds for the full length of the two-lane viaduct to be levelled.

The Zhuan-yang viaduct runs through the midst of the city and engineers had to take special measures to prevent nearby homes being destroyed.

The task was complicated by the fact that the bridge is closely surrounded on both sides by residential properties.

It also runs alongside 100,000 volt wires and more than 30 underground pipelines, including the main gas pipeline connecting east and west China.

The Zhuan-yang viaduct runs through the heart of Wuhan in central China Credit: Reuters/CCTV

In order to prevent flying debris, all of the piers supporting the bridge were wrapped with cotton, wires and sand bags.

The full 2.2-mile stretch of the bridge was also lined with a cloth apron and giant bags of water, which created a vapour mist during the explosion.

The piers supporting the viaduct were wrapped with cotton, wires and sand bags Credit: Reuters/CCTV

As the environment is very complicated, we have adopted very strict protective measures.

For example, we put water bags along the viaduct to reduce the dust produced in the process of demolition.

The water mist produced in the blast can absorb the dust.

– Xie Xianqi, president, Wuhan Demolition Engineering Company
Bags containing water line the full 2.2 miles of the viaduct Credit: Reuters/CCTV

Built in 1997, the Zhuan-yang viaduct used to be an important part of China's National Highway 318 running from Shanghai to Tibet.

Far below the capacity that is now required, it will be replaced by a six-lane viaduct a mile longer than the previous one.