MARBLE FALLS, Texas -- Before the sun was even up, hundreds of people lined the shores of Lake Marble Falls on Sunday to watch history happen.
"It's a great reason to be up and have a cup of coffee with the community, and it's a bridge blow-up party, it's pretty cool," said Marble Falls resident James Oakley.
The decades old truss bridge on U.S. 281, 38 miles northwest of Austin, was the largest of its kind to ever be demolished in the state of Texas, making way for a bigger and safer bridge across the lake.
Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelli Reyna told KVUE their contractors decided to implode the bridge versus taking it down mechanically to save time.
"They said look, we think that we can do an implosion and it will be just as safe and actually help speed up the timeline," Reyna said.
TxDOT expects to save up to three months of construction time, so the U.S. 281 bridge project is completed by 2014.
"We're going to go ahead and put in a new bridge that's going to be safe, and we're going to make sure it can have another long life," said Reyna.
However, the old bridge is not going away entirely.
"We've actually partnered with a local recycling company who is going to recycle all the steel, and they're going to be making art sculptures for the city of Marble Falls," Reyna told KVUE.
Sunday's implosion went smoothly with the exception of knocking out phone service in the area for several hours.
TxDOT crews will spend the next several days removing debris from the lake.
Areas of Burnet, Blanco, and Llano Counties are without telephone service due to a major telephone line being damaged during the explosion.
As of 5:30 Sunday evening, cell phones and land line telephones were still out of service. Verizon estimates that some service will be restored late Sunday night.