Osprey eggs delay demolition of old Eggners Ferry Bridge

If you’ve been on the new Eggners Ferry Bridge, you may have noticed the ospreys flying over the old bridge that sits right next to it. Eggs from those ospreys are delaying demolition of the old bridge.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says contractors have always worked to keep the ospreys from building nests on the old bridge, but this time it’s a little bit different. The ospreys have laid their eggs directly on the steel structure. 

"They want them nests up on that bridge bad," said bridge construction worker Robert Worthington.

When Worthington is not working on the bridge, he camps out at Ken Lake to watch the wildlife. He says ospreys have made this assignment an interesting one.

"I love to watch them. It’s just something to see. It’s unusual to see them trying to build their nest, and of course us having to take them apart," Worthington said.

Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says demolition was supposed to begin this month, because the new bridge is now open to traffic.

"When you have an egg that’s been put down on just a steel truss, it’s difficult to figure out where you go from there," Todd said.

He says bridge workers had their first encounters with the federally protected ospreys when building the new bridge last year. Ospreys would lay eggs, sometimes directly on the bridge, but the crews were able to work around them. This time it’s a bit more tricky.

"Agencies are working well together. We’re excited everyone is working together to try to make this work," Todd said.

Federal and state wildlife and transportation agencies are working together to fix to figure out their next move. He says the presence of the ospreys could delay the demotion for a few more weeks. Right now, agencies are trying to figure out if the eggs are viable.  
The U.S. Coast Guard requested the old bridge come down as soon as possible, due to an offset of the navigation channel between the two structures.
The new bridge is expected to be completed by the end of the year.