New arch soars above existing Eggners Ferry Bridge

Johnson Brothers Construction made history Tuesday night when a 550-foot arch was latched to the new Eggners Ferry Bridge. The 5 million pound structure made it’s daylight debut this morning, with many standing by to see.

The new 110-foot bridge towers over the existing one, which was built in 1931. Project manager Michael Oliver says the most complicated part is over. “Everybody had a good night last night. Everything went as planned, no hiccups no problems,” he said.

Next, crews will start taking down the crane towers and pouring concrete decks. They hope cars will be on the bridge by the end of January or early February. “If we have a mild winter, if December is good to us, and it’s fairly warm, and we don’t have a lot of snow,” he said.

Oliver says they’ll keep up the old bridge until the new one is completed. Then, they plan to implode part of it and salvage the replacement span. They’ll have to get permits from the Coast Guard and a timeline on how long they can leave the steel in the water.

Oliver says the bridges are only 50 feet apart and, because of that proximity, an implosion is going to take precision. “Everything is going to have to go as planned, because were so close. It’s got to go right,” he said.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd says he’s not sad to see the existing bridge go, but it deserves respect. “Just as we stand here and look at this new bridge and say ‘Look at this engineering marvel,’ the old bridge in the 1930s, it was an engineering marvel,” Todd said.

The white color of the arch was chosen by the Coast Guard so those in boats can see it better in the water. Barge traffic on Kentucky Lake was stopped Tuesday morning to allow for the construction. The Coast Guard gave them 48 hours to reopen it. 

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