Drivers look forward to new Lake Barkley Bridge opening Monday
TRIGG COUNTY, KY – Many of you will have a safer, more spacious trip across Lake Barkley on Monday. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says two lanes of traffic will open on the new bridge mid-morning.
Around 3,000 cars and trucks drive across the existing Henry R. Lawrence Memorial Bridge, built in 1932, every day.
It connects Canton, Kentucky, to Land Between the Lakes. More specifically, it’s at about mile point 8.5 in U.S. 68 in Trigg County. It is 9 miles west of Cadiz and is the eastern entrance to LBL.
The two lanes will eventually become the eastbound lanes, when the four-lane bridge is finished.
The total cost of the project is $128 million.
Many of us will experience a bit of déjà vu Monday. It was nearly two years ago that we said goodbye to a existing truss bridge and welcomed a new, more modern, Eggners Ferry Bridge.
In fact, the arches on the new bridges are identical.
Howard Heath still remembers driving his horse trailer across the old Eggners Ferry Bridge, which is strikingly similar to the old Lake Barkley bridge. “It was hard to bring our trailer across it. Most of the time when you’d have to get over, your tires were just about touching the rails,” Heath recalled. He said another driver knocked the mirror of his truck off one time.
Now, Heath looks forward to crossing the Eggners Ferry Bridge on his trip from Paris, Tennessee to LBL. He says a new, big; bridge makes a big difference for older drivers and people with horses.
Crews will begin taking out the concrete deck in the existing bridge Tuesday or Wednesday. They will then put together a timeline for its demolition. KYTC says it will likely come down late March or early April.
They still need to finish a few things, like work on a multi-use path and painting the main arch. Crews are expected to wrap up at the end of the year.
You may also notice road construction on both ends of the bridge. The goal is to widen the area to four lanes, not just the bridge. KYTC spokesman Keith Todd says it could take between 18 months and two years to complete.
The LBL side is almost complete. It lacks about 100 yards of paving. The Cadiz side needs work, especially in the section connecting the Hilltop community to Canton. Todd says weather and trouble getting the necessary permits held the project up.