I can see how the bridge might have been a hazard to work on while it was on that failed bent. But after the bridge was brought down into the river, it looks (based only on my review of the photos provided) reasonably stable to me. Just from a technical standpoint, wouldn't it have been feasible to develop a safe way to lift the bridge out of the river intact at that point... after it was dropped in the river? Based on the photos, the bridge does not appear to be badly damaged after it was dropped in the river. Any damage caused by it dropping in the river could have perhaps been repaired by heat straightening, etc.
I am the contractor that brought that bridge down. When I showed up onsite, my initial approach was to try and stabilize it. Upon a detailed inspection of the failed footing it became apparent there was no way to save it without endangering people's lives. No bridge is worth that. I cannot tell you why the bridge was standing, it shouldn't have been. Knowing what UP went through in the previous years trying to stabilize, donate, get rid of the bridge, I would say that in my opinion, government red tape brought this bridge down in the end. I have to give UP credit for taking care of the situation and responding to the emergency in the right manner. They tried to do the right thing before it became a problem but couldn't get anything done until it was too late.
The demolition of this bridge is both short-sighted and ignorant. Very disappointing. This bridge could have and should have been saved, despite its condition. Collapsed bridges have been saved a number of times.
Just left the site. It doesn't look good, it might make it through the night. However, with more rain in the forecast it might not make it through the weekend.
Hopefully they are smart and get a couple big cranes out here QUICK and pick this bridge before it becomes fish food. I would hate to see the plans to preserve this bridge destroyed because of this substructure problem.