Engineers working out details for steel production
AURORA, Ky. (March 21, 2012) – The contractor hired by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to replace a missing span on the US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge at Aurora has started detailed engineering and design work required for production of steel needed for the repair.A 322-foot span was knocked off the bridge on the evening of Jan. 26, when struck by the 8,200-ton cargo ship Delta Mariner. The crash severed an important link in the region’s economy.Hall Contracting of Kentucky was the low bidder for a contract to build a replacement span and reopen the bridge by May 27 – on Memorial Day weekend – in time to save the summer tourism season that is crucial to the economy of the Jackson Purchase and lower Pennyrile regions.Hall Contracting Vice-President Tom Roberts says his engineers are working out final details to allow steel to be fabricated to replace the missing span.“We haven’t progressed to a point where the steel can be poured yet, but we are making progress,” Roberts said. “The steel has not been manufactured, but we’ll be working with the Transportation Cabinet to keep the public updated as the process advances toward fabrication.”Roberts indicated that the raw steel will be manufactured, then shipped to the company’s in-house fabrication facility to be prepared for assembly.“Once we have taken delivery of the steel we expect it to be drilled and fabricated at our facility in Louisville, piece by piece. The steel will then be shipped to a site near the bridge where it will be prepared for final assembly,” Roberts said.In a surprise announcement on March 8, Gov. Steve Beshear announced that Hall Contracting of Kentucky had been awarded a $7 million contract to replace the missing span with a requirement that the work be completed by Memorial Day.The bridge is a key link for tourism in the Kentucky-Barkley Lakes Region. It serves as the western entrance to the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area which is among the region’s major attractions. According to figures from 2011, direct expenditures by tourists contributed $454 million to the 15 counties of Kentucky’s Western Lakes Region. The U.S. 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge on average carries about 2,650 vehicles per day.