If your vacation plans take you over Kentucky Lake, you and your family now have a safer route. Two lanes of traffic opened shortly after 4 p.m. on the new bridge connecting Aurora, Kentucky, to Land Between the Lakes.
The project was first announced in 2013 and contracted out for $133 million.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to have all four lanes completed in eight to 16 weeks. There's also going to be a multi-purpose trail for bikers and pedestrians.
The transportation cabinet calls the old bridge obsolete. I caught up with folks who were so excited they parked out to be the first on the bridge.
One of those people was Jason Rains, who was supposed to spend his day fishing with his godfather. Instead of saying he had the catch of the day, he wants to say something a little more unique, like "I was the first to cross that bridge."
They were not the only ones. More than 10 cars were parked waiting hours before the opening.
Road crews tentioned cables, painted lines, and cleaned Friday morning.
It's been the biggest accomplishment of project manager Michael Oliver's career. "Everyone's asking 'Is today the day?' Well, today's the day," he said.
Jason's godfather Jerry Caudill says he's thankful for the smooth ride and his passenger.
"He decided he wanted to try to be the first one to cross. I said, well, if that's what you want, we'll sit here and wait for them," Caudill said.
Because there is still construction on the bridge, the speed limit is still 35 miles per hour. If you wanted to get a view from the new bridge, make sure you're checking the speedometer too.
Although road crews are calling the bridge the new Eggners Ferry Bridge, that's not the official name until it's voted on by the Kentucky legislature.
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003