Work continues on Eggners Ferry Bridge span

UPDATE: It’s hour 15 for a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews as they work to secure a 550 ft span into the new Eggners Ferry Bridge. 

Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, KYTC said the span could be in place in a couple more hours. 

For one day, people got to watch a what some call $20 million spectacle for free. But, through  the eyes of Cliff Dibble, it’s a little more stressful to watch a 5.1 million pound structure hovering over his son.

"I’m a little nervous now," Dibble said. "I told him the other day to stay back, not be under it, but when I first brought it him out there he was nothing but under it. " Dibble said.

Dibble’s son Luke is helping place a 110 foot tall steel structure onto the Eggners Ferry Bridge. 

"Proud to be down here watching him," Dibble said. "I know he’s enjoying it and thinks it’s history, and I’m glad to be a part of it."

It needed to be built offshore because of its length without supports. The span moves about 15 feet in an hour, but Dibble keeps an eye on his son with his binoculars. 

"I can pick him out where where he is working at, and I know about basically where is going to be most of the time," Dibble said. 

This span took about five hours to be able to hover over the piers long after a lot of spectators had left, but Dibble stayed in the dark and cold checking on his son through the phone.

Crews hope to finish up by around midnight. 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Crews are moving a 5.1 million-pound span more than 2,040 feet as part of their next step in completing the new Eggners Ferry Bridge. 

The bridge connects Marshall and Trigg counties. 

Around 6 p.m. Tuesday, crews were on hour four of the about a six-hour process to lift this span 60 to 65 feet in the air. They had 20 feet to go. I talked to the project manager as to why they had to raise this span instead of building it on like the rest of the bridge.

This 110-foot steel structure took about eight months to build on the banks off of the Tennessee River. The new Eggners Ferry Bridge project manager says the Coast Guard required them to have a length of 550 feet without any pillars or anything that would block boat traffic. To build something that length without supports, they had to do it offshore. 

Project engineer Mike Brown says the biggest challenge today will be, once it is vertical, to move it horizontally into the structure.

"That’s where, obviously, we’re very vulnerable at that point. When you have 5 million suspended 80 feet over the water, it becomes obviously much more difficult," Brown said. 

The way they lifted 60 feet in the air is similar to your carjacking system, but on a much bigger scale. It’s a lengthy process that’s bringing crowds to  the Kenlake Campgrounds in Marshall County to watch what they call history in the making. 

"Obviously, they’re taking their time so it’s better than a rush job, I suppose. I’m content sitting here with a coffee and a cigarette", David Ashton, who was among those watching on Tuesday, said.

Crews shave to lift the span a little higher than the bridge before they can push it into place. 

Juliana will be with us live at the bridge tonight at 10, when we’ll hopefully get to see the span in place and hear more about the day’s process. 

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