Police enforcing Ledbetter Bridge laws to keep the roadway from closing
MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky.— Obey the law, or lose access to the bridge. Kentucky State Police are putting out the word that they've had it with overweight drivers on the Ledbetter Bridge.
The next option is a complete shutdown, and that would lengthen commutes between McCracken and Livingston Counties by about 45 minutes each way.
New numbers show police are serious about catching drivers who disregard the rules. From the end of February to the end of July, officers have issued 360 speeding citations. On top of that, they handed out 572 other citations, most of them for overweight vehicles.
Now, The Kentucky State Police and the Sheriff's Offices in McCracken and Livingston Counties are all working together to make sure someone's stationed at the bridge almost 24/7 to crack down on violators and keep it from closing.
Trooper David Archer says, "Following bridge inspections, it was found that the state of the bridge was not as good as it needed to be. The engineers came in and gave us a list of restrictions they want the public to follow." Those restrictions take the speed limit down to 35 miles per hour and reduces the weight limit to three tons.
"The transportation cabinet is trying to keep the bridge going on in a usable fashion for as long as possible," says Trooper Archer, but it won't last if drivers continue to disregard the rules. He says, "We still are seeing people violate the speed limit, and we're seeing people violate the weight limit."
Officers are now on hand around the clock to crack down on drivers and ramp up the life of Ledbetter Bridge. "Obviously as state police, we shoot for 100 percent compliance. We'd like everybody to get on board so we can keep the bridge open," says Trooper Archer.
The new bridge connecting the two counties isn't scheduled to open until sometime in mid 2014, so police say they're doing everything they can to make sure this one lasts a least until then.
The monetary penalty for violating the weight limit on the bridge could cost up to $500.00. That money goes to court costs and then to the state general fund.