Bridge no longer able to adequately handle modern traffic needs
AURORA, Ky. (Sept. 10, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear broke ground today on a a $131.5 million bridge that will replace the aging, obsolete Eggners Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake at Aurora.
“I keenly understand that the livelihoods of many people depend on the heavily traveled U.S. 68/KY 80 corridor,” Beshear said. “When complete, the distinctive design of these new bridges will serve as a signature gateway into the heart of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.”
The new four-lane bridge, which features a unique basket-handle tied arch design, will carry U.S. 68/KY 80 over Kentucky Lake and serve as the western entrance to Land Between the Lakes, which long has been one of Kentucky’s premier tourism destinations.
Crews have begun drilling pilings into the lake bed, and will soon begin to pour concrete footers for the new bridge piers. Contractors plan to pour pre-cast slabs at the site starting Thursday.
The Eggners Ferry Bridge was built in 1932 and long ago ceased to meet design standards for modern volumes and types of traffic, including recreational vehicles and modern freight carriers. The Eggners Ferry Bridge, joining Marshall and Trigg counties, has two lanes, each 10 feet wide, with no shoulders. The bridge required significant repair work after a barge struck it in January 2012, tearing away a 300-foot span. The bridge has since been repaired.
The new bridge will have four travel lanes, each 11 feet wide, plus 4-foot shoulders and a 10-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycle path.
It is part of a larger Lakes Bridges Project, which also includes replacement of the Henry Lawrence Memorial Bridge on Lake Barkley — a near twin of the Eggners Ferry. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is aiming to award a contract for the second bridge by December.
In the Kentucky Lake region, approximately 2 miles of U.S. 68/KY 80 will be widened from two lanes to four lanes from Aurora, in Marshall County on the western shore, to just east of Kentucky Lake, where the project will connect to the four-lane roadway in the Land Between the Lakes. In the Lake Barkley area, the project will widen approximately 1.5 miles of U.S. 68/KY 80 from two lanes to four lanes from just west of Lake Barkley to just east of the lake.
An additional four-lane section to complete the new connect between Canton and Cadiz is in the right-of-way acquisition phase.