Eggners Ferry Bridge Reopened
By WestKyStar Staff
AURORA, KY - Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson congratulated the residents of western Kentucky as the Eggners Ferry Bridge reopened to vehicle traffic shortly after 1 pm Friday- two days ahead of schedule. 

Abramson called the work done by Hall contracting "outstanding" and said that Governor Beshear wanted fervently to see the bridge opened by Memorial Day.

The Eggners Ferry Bridge, which carries U.S. Highway 68 and KY Highway 80 across Kentucky Lake, has been closed since it was struck by the cargo ship Delta Mariner on the night of Jan. 26. A 322-foot-long span of the 80-year-old bridge was torn away.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews worked late into the night putting on the finishing touches. Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said restoring traffic to the bridge in 121 days took a phenomenal effort.

“We were very fortunate that there was no structural damage to the piers during the January 26 incident. This allowed us to focus on constructing a new span and getting it in place,” Hancock said. “It took a lot of cooperation and hard work to make a lot happen in a very short time. Our state highway crews, along with Hall Contracting, deserve the credit in opening this bridge expeditiously.”

Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Miller called the structure "a wonder," adding that everyone from business owners to Murray State students have been looking forward to the reopening, since the required detour added 42 miles to a 22-mile trip from Aurora to Cadiz.

"You know the way gas is, it's hard for these students. We were afraid that after this semester, we would lose them to Austin Peay or some place's a happy day in Kentucky."

U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield could not attend, but echoed Miller's sentiment, saying, “I understand the impact the closure of the Eggner Ferry Bridge has had on many aspects of the lives of those who use it, ranging from the inconvenience of a longer work commute to a potentially life threatening situation of delayed emergency services or medical care. I wish everyone a very safe and fun Memorial Day weekend, and I congratulate everyone involved in getting the Eggner Ferry Bridge repaired and reopened.”

Crews from Hall Contracting lifted a new truss span into place on Tuesday, May 15. After placing reinforcing steel and forms on the truss, a new concrete deck was poured last Sunday. This week workers concentrated on finishing curbs and removing forms from the structure.

The two-lane Eggners Ferry Bridge, which is the western gateway to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, opened to traffic crossing the Tennessee River in 1932. Its elevation was raised in 1943 when the Tennessee River was impounded to create Kentucky Lake. A KYTC traffic count conducted in 2009 showed 2,650 vehicles per day crossed the bridge.

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.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet awarded Hall Contracting a $7 million, emergency contract to repair and reopen the bridge by Sunday, May 27 – the midpoint of Memorial Day weekend and the traditional start of the summer tourism season so vital to the Lakes Region of Western Kentucky.

Published 03:00 PM, Friday May. 25, 2012
Updated 05:58 AM, Tuesday May. 29, 2012

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