Daytime lane restrictions continue on Eggners Ferry Bridge
A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to continue daytime lane restrictions on the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge at Aurora all week. The lane restrictions on the existing bridge are to facilitate the pouring of concrete for construction of the new structure.
Activity has been able to ramp back up at two of the piers. Work on Pier 4 and Pier 5 of the new bridge had to be curtailed after a pair of ospreys established a nest in the work zone. Last Thursday, a biologist for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet confirmed that two young ospreys that hatched in the nest had "fledged." That's means the young birds had developed sufficient feathers and wing strength to fly, leave the nest, and survive on their own with minimal help from the adult birds.
The presence of nesting ospreys on the existing bridge that curtailed some construction activity staring in April was not totally unexpected. KYTC officials had been working with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources since 2013 to develop a plan to build nesting towers along Kentucky lake in an effort to coax the ospreys away from the work zone.
Meanwhile, the Eggners Ferry Bridge project at Aurora on Kentucky Lake is coming along quickly. The project is now considered about 55 percent complete. In addition to the ospreys, the contractor has faced a number of challenges.
High water has persisted on Kentucky Lake much of the year and even into July after the area saw rainfall that is now about 9 inches above normal for the year at Paducah.
Transportation Cabinet District 1 spokesman Keith Todd says a barge that hit on a pier of the existing bridge in recent weeks also damaged concrete forms built for construction of the new bridge.
With those forms quickly repaired, work is stepping up on Pier 4 and 5. Todd said once those piers are above water level crews will be able to start placing steel on nearby approach spans with concrete decking to follow fairly quickly.
The main arch of the new bridge is assembled. Painters have arrived on site and are preparing to start painting the basket handle tied arch structure. Painting will take 4 to 6 weeks, weather permitting.
The assembled arch for the main navigation span is expected to be floated into place and lowered into position sometime this fall. Traffic is scheduled to be moved to the new bridge on a temporary roadway connection by the end of this year.
Due to ongoing work along the bridge project, motorists should be prepared to encounter lane restrictions on the existing bridge almost daily for about the next Month. However, hours may change somewhat due to weather conditions, temperatures, and work requirements.
Motorists should be alert for one lane traffic with alternating flow controlled by flaggers. Delays are possible. However, most delays have been less than 4 minutes. Some longer delays are possible during the movement and placement of equipment and during peak travel periods.
Due to the number of trucks delivering materials to the construction site around the clock, motorists should always use caution in this busy work zone.
Johnson Brothers Construction is the prime contractor on the $133 million New Eggners Ferry Bridge.
Just this week, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear joined area officials for a ceremonial ground breaking on the nearby US 68/KY 80 Lake Barkley Bridge at Canton. The Lake Barkley Bridge will be of the same basket handle arch design as the Kentucky Lake Bridge. The two structures on each side of the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area are about 9 miles apart.