New Bridge Span Successfully Installed
By Bill Hughes
AURORA, KY - The newly-constructed span of the Eggner's Ferry Bridge is now in place on the existing structure.
Workers set the new 322-foot span on the existing structure Tuesday morning, moving inch-by-inch. Now that it is in place on the new piers that were poured earlier this month, it will be secured by steelworkers, as others begin the around-the-clock process of forming and pouring concrete.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd said it may be several days before concrete begins to arrive at the bridge.
"They have a lot of rebar to place to get ready before they can actually pour the concrete," Todd said.
He added that the concrete pour will take a while. "They originally said 10 days to 2 weeks, somewhere in that time frame, with a couple of days for it to cure," Todd explained. "They can use some special concrete that will help it cure a little quicker."
Spectators gathered at both ends of the bridge to watch the process. They had plenty of time to congregate, as the process was delayed by morning fog.
The new span completed the 30-mile trip by water from Lyon County to Marshall County Monday evening.
The Motor Vessel Crosby Renegade pushed a barge with four cranes and the 322-foot section of bridge approximately 30 miles in just over 5 hours, from Lyon County Riverport in Eddyville, across Lake Barkley, through the LBL canal, and down Kentucky Lake to the Eggners Ferry Bridge. The canal bridge was the only span that it had to go under, and everything safely passed underneath with a few feet to spare. Spectators sat on the shore, gathered at overlooks, and followed in boats to see the once-in-a-lifetime event – a bridge floating down the river.
After the barge reached its destination on Monday afternoon, it was determined that there was not enough daylight to set the span in place that day, so the operation was postponed until Tuesday morning, when crews completed moving the barge into place and connecting the crane rigging.
Todd said Hall Contracting still plans to have the bridge open by the May 27 deadline.
The US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge has been closed since January 26th, when the 8200 ton cargo ship Delta Mariner slammed into the bridge and knocked the original span into Kentucky Lake.
Hall Contracting has a $7 million contract to replace the missing span with a requirement that the bridge be reopened to traffic by Memorial Day weekend.