Local 6 goes beneath the Ledbetter Bridge


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Terry Snell

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. — We take you underneath the Ledbetter Bridge for a closer look at what led the Transportation Cabinet to enforce strict weight restrictions.

There's a three-ton weight limit on the bridge, so essentially anything heavier than a pickup must take a detour and now we know why.

The problems underneath the bridge are very visible, even to the untrained eye. We showed some of the trouble spots to folks who cross the bridge every day. They couldn't believe what they saw.

Corrosion, rust and deterioration are what we saw after going underneath the Ledbetter Bridge.

The Transportation Cabinet released photos to show the seriousness of the situation.

"There comes a point when you want to raise a level of awareness that there is an issue here, without it going too far and really scaring people," Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said.

But the people who travel the bridge say the photos are scary. Every picture highlights a problem from a perspective most drivers would never see.

"Makes me not want to drive across it," one driver said.

Instead of inspecting the bridge every two years, the Transportation Cabinet will send inspectors to the bridge once a month and if this bridge gets any worse, it could be closed to all traffic.

"If we get to a point where they feel it'll be dangerous, it will be closed," Todd said.

That's something drivers don't want to happen.

"It's going to be hurting a lot of people's pocketbooks," driver Lori Long said.

But after seeing the pictures, commuters said that may be the only way to make sure no driver gets hurt.

There were about ten serious trouble spots on the Ledbetter Bridge. If you're wondering, the bridge was built in 1931. Todd said for bridges built back in that time, the typical lifespan is 60 to 100 years

This bridge is 81 years old.

Todd said the cabinet is considering offering the contractor working on the new bridge incentives to speed up the process. As of now, the estimated completion date is mid 2014.

To read the Ledbetter Bridge report, click here. For the accompanying images from the report, click here.