Bridge restricts traffic, drivers forced to find alternate routes

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Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - Chad Darnell

McCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — As state inspectors look over the Ledbetter Bridge, drivers like John Galbraith will soon be forced to find another way across.

"What I'm coming across here with you wouldn't be able to make it here," Galbraith said.

He works for Midwest Terminal and transports fuel. But he will now be making a detour because he surpasses the three-ton limit.

"That's going to make them go all the way around up by Grand Rivers around that way," he said.

Local 6 made that detour through US Highway 937. The trip from one side of the bridge to the other took 40 minutes. That's just one of three detours J.R. Cox and others said they'll have to take weekly to get to Livingston County's livestock auction.

"The cost will be a lot more. Anybody knows you'll have to drive to the dam to Smithland then back just to get across the rover here. It costs a lot more than it will be to go this way," Cox said. "None of these cattle trailers will be able to cross here anymore. It will affect a lot of people."

Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said he understands people's concerns but believes safety trumps convenience.

"We are going to be strictly enforcing this once we get rolling with it and I know it's going to be a hardship on a lot of people," Todd said. "It's one of these things that has to be done."

Signs are now posted warning drivers of the restrictions and Galbraith said he'll follow the rules even though he doesn't favor the longer commute.

"They got to do what they got to do," he said. "You have to live with it and go on."

The three-ton, or 6,000 pound, limit means some passenger vehicles, and many trucks and vans may be too heavy. Some manufacturers provide curb weight information via their company website.  Another option is to enter the make and model of your vehicle followed by “curb weight” into a search engine.

To access the bridge inspection report, click here. And for the accompanying images from the report, click here.

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