Eggners Ferry Bridge on track to reopen Memorial Day weekend, officials say
Concrete pour on deck section tentatively scheduled for Sunday
Editor's note: updated with video from our broadcast and with photos from Friday's other big Eggners Ferry Bridge news, the passing of the Delta Mariner under the bridge.
AURORA, Ky. — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says repairs to the U.S. 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge are on track for reopening of the damaged bridge in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Crews from Hall Contracting of Kentucky Inc. lifted a new truss span into place Tuesday.
Friday, they are placing the last of the reinforcing steel and forms required for pouring a concrete deck on the new span this weekend.
They plan complete final preparations on Saturday morning to be prepared to pour concrete starting on Sunday morning. The concrete pour is expected to take about five to six hours to complete.
Due to the amount of truck traffic the concrete work will generate, barricades will be up at each end of the bridge and access will be restricted.
On the Marshall County side, no one will be able to get any closer than barricades at the US 68/KY 80 intersection.
However, the public will be able to watch the work from Ken Lake State Resort Park.
The Transportation Cabinet says restricting access to the bridge to essential personnel only will allow the concrete trucks plenty of room to maneuver safely.
The Eggners Ferry Bridge crosses Kentucky Lake between Marshall and Trigg counties.
A 322-foot span of the bridge was destroyed when struck by the 8,200-ton cargo ship Delta Mariner on the night of Jan. 26.
The Transportation Cabinet awarded an emergency contract for the repair project to Hall Contracting. The contract specifies a deadline of May 27 for completion of repairs and reopening the bridge to traffic.
KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Jim LeFevre said security will be stepped up around the bridge this weekend to maintain safety at the site. While recognizing there is a lot of public interest in the work, LeFevre asked that everyone stay off the bridge and its approaches to help speed the work and avoid creating safety hazards.
“Truck access to the bridge and approaches is critical for this phase of the bridge repair operation,” LeFevre said. “Cement trucks will be turning around on the bridge approach causeway and backing up along the bridge approach as they go about making deliveries. To assure the safety of both workers and the public – and timely completion of the required work – we are asking area law enforcement agencies to write trespassing citations to anyone who goes beyond our ‘Road Closed’ signs at each end of the bridge work zone.”
“The amount of concrete required for the new deck also means there will be a number of trucks traveling along KY 80 between the concrete mixing plant in Murray and the bridge,” LeFevre added. “We’re urging everyone to use caution along this route due to the increase in truck traffic.”
LeFevre said any number of additional issues could hinder progress on the bridge, including the weather. However, he said he is optimistic that traffic can be fully restored by the Memorial Day deadline.
After the Delta Mariner knocked out the span, electrical power to the structure, originally fed from Trigg County on the eastern side, had to be temporarily rerouted to be supplied from Marshall County. A KYTC electrical crew is continuing work along the bridge to restore the power supply from the east end.
Once a new deck is poured, KYTC construction inspectors will check the concrete to ensure it is of proper strength. In addition, KYTC bridge inspectors will check and document the new span. KYTC inspectors expect to complete required safety checks within a few hours.
The bridge serves as the western entrance to The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. In addition to providing a key transportation link for area commuters, the bridge is a connecting point for tourism in Kentucky’s 15-county Western Lakes Region.
According to Kentucky’s Western Waterland, a regional tourism promotion group, tourism dollars provide a direct annual contribution of $472 million to the region and a direct contribution of $7.4 billion to the Kentucky economy statewide.