The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet expects to issue in October the first construction contracts for a $165-million bridge to replace the Eggner's Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake in the southwestern part of the state. Emergency repairs to the original 80-year-old span, which carries U.S. 68/Ky. 80 over the Tennessee River, originated this spring after a barge carrying rocket components struck the crossing in January.
The initial replacement work involves building a bridge over a lagoon west of Kentucky Lake and widening existing causeways to accommodate the new, four-lane bridge. For the replacement and for an identical new span over nearby Lake Barkley, funding will come through $330 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bond sales authorized by the state General Assembly earlier this year. Michael Baker Inc., Moon Township, Pa., designed the main basket-handle, tied-arch spans for both new bridges, and Palmer Engineering Co. Inc., Winchester, Ky., designed the approach spans and roadway approaches for both. Construction is expected to take two years. About 2,800 vehicles cross the span daily.
The U.S. Coast Guard is set to release a report on the accident, which has been under investigation and was the subject of hearings in April. Part of the 322-ft span was knocked down and bent over the bow of the Delta Mariner. The ship may have been traveling in the wrong channel, say published reports in Kentucky. The state is still negotiating with the ship's owner, Seattle-based Foss Maritime Co., over payment—estimated to cost $1 million—for cleanup of the remaining underwater debris at the site. Leaving the debris as a fish habitat is being discussed, too.
Louisville-based Hall Contracting of Kentucky Inc. completed the $7-million repair of the existing span on May 25, two days ahead of its contracted 120-day timeframe. The firm assembled the steel for the bridge's new 200-ton frame off-site, moved it onto a pair of barges and floated it upstream for 30 miles before lifting it into place.