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Bridge section damaged in Tempe train derailment demolished

TEMPE, Ariz. — A 150-foot portion of a century-old bridge that was damaged in a train derailment and resulting fire in Tempe was demolished Sunday as part of the cleanup process.

Union Pacific Railroad officials said the demolished portion of the bridge will likely be cut into smaller pieces so it can be removed and there isn’t a timeline yet for when the bridge will be reconstructed.

Eight to 10 cars of a 102-car Union Pacific freight train traveling from Tucson to Phoenix derailed around 6 a.m. Wednesday on a railroad bridge over the man-made Tempe Town Lake.

The derailed cars were carrying lumber and hazardous material and burst into flames, causing the century-old bridge to partially collapse on the south end.

Tempe Fire Department Assistant Chief Andrea Glass said the partial demolition involved putting charges around various parts of the bridge in addition to small incisions which allowed for the most damaged section of the bridge to drop below.

Glass said the detonation wouldn’t impact the rest of the bridge and about 100 workers, mostly contractors, were working to clean up the derailment site.

City officials said it’s still unclear when Tempe Town Lake will reopen.