Transportation Cabinet schedules explosive demolition of Old Eggners Ferry Bridge

PADUCAH, Ky. (July 18, 2016) – The explosive demolition of four main spans on the old Eggners Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake at Aurora is set for 6:30 a.m. CDT on Monday, July 25.

Over the last month, a demolition crew has removed the concrete deck from the 83 year old bridge.  A specialized crew completed a detailed survey of the steel truss structures to plan placement of explosives to bring down truss spans B, C, D, and E, the main river crossing spans.  Two shorter spans, A and F, at each end of the structure will be lifted and removed by cranes at a later date.

Once the main steel truss structures are dropped into Kentucky Lake, two cranes will move to the site to remove the fallen steel with the assistance of divers.  Tow boat traffic will be halted during the blast and steel recovery work.  The Coast Guard is requiring the contractor to clear the main channel within 24 hours to minimize disruptions to river traffic.

“Over about the last two years, we’ve had an offset of the main navigation channel between the new bridge and the old bridge,” said Michael Oliver, KYTC Murray Section Engineer.  “Tow boats have been using the secondary span of the old bridge to line up with the main navigation span of the new bridge.  The U.S. Coast Guard asked that we expedite demolition of the old structure to minimize the navigation offset.”

Weather permitting, the demolition of the old bridge will require the new bridge to be closed to all traffic from 6:15 to 6:45 a.m., CDT, on July 25.  Crews will establish a 1,000 foot clear zone around the blast site.

Emergency management and police agencies will assist with security on the day of the blast.

Kenlake State Resort Park, which overlooks the bridge on the Marshall County side, will make the park amphitheater available for spectators who wish to watch the implosion on Monday.

A detail of the blast is as follows:

\Blast will occur at 6:30 a.m., CDT, on Monday July 25

  • U.S. 68 will be closed to all traffic from 6:15 a.m. to 6:45 a.m., CDT
  • Spans B, C (navigational channel), D and E will be imploded with explosives
  • Spans A and F will be lifted and removed by cranes at a later date
  • There will be a blast radius clear zone of 1,000 feet
  • Marshall and Trigg county emergency services along with Marshall County Sheriff’s office will patrol the lake to enforce the clear zone
  • Immediately following demolition, cranes will move into place and start retrieving steel from the lake bottom

Traffic was moved to the New U.S. 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge on April 8, 2016.  That move prompted an accelerated effort to demolish the old bridge.

While the new bridge is open to two-way traffic on what will become the westbound lanes, construction of a multi-use path and other finish work has continued along the eastbound lanes. The New Eggners Ferry Bridge is expected to be ready for four-lane traffic by sometime in August.

The old U.S. 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge initially opened to traffic in March 1932.  In 1943, the bridge was closed for 6 months to allow the bridge to be raised to accommodate higher water levels due to the impounding of Kentucky Lake.  The crossing has remained active since regular ferry service started at the site sometime in the 1840’s.

Johnson Brothers Corporation of Ft. Worth, TX, a Southland Company, is the prime contractor on the $133 million New Eggners Ferry Bridge project, which includes demolition of the old structure.

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