How do you take down a 64-year-old bridge that has survived big earthquakes and carries water and gas lines over Highway 1, not to mention lords over a traffic crunch of 100,000 cars a day?
Not with dynamite, as you might expect, but with a giant machine invented in 1966 called a Ho-Ram, which while it is working seems as exotic as the Mars rover.
The colossal air hammer mounted on a Caterpiller truck looks prehistoric as it drops its nose down on the cement with a ground-shaking thud and seems to be munching on the surfaces. It pounds big holes, which fall down onto Highway 1 and are later scooped up by men driving tractors and carrying shovels and brooms.
The La Fonda bridge, which connects the Prospect Heights neighborhood to the ocean side of Santa Cruz, . It's part of a $21 million project to widen the highway and build a bigger bridge with bike lanes and sidewalks, which are most important to kids on each side of the freeway who attend schools including Harbor High School and Delaveaga Elementary.
Southbound traffic was diverted through detours at Morrissey Boulevard and Soquel Drive Monday night and will continue tonight. Then, the Northbound lanes will be closed Aug. 13 and 14. Crews will work on only half the bridge each week.
County Transportation Planner Kim Schultz, who watched the destruction phase of the construction project, said they did tests with bores and X-rays to make sure that the bridge would hold from its center while half was gone.
So what did it look like while you slept, or tried to, in that neighborhood?
Check the photos and videos on the right.