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Ground broken for new Lake Barkley Bridge

Span critical to Western Kentucky

CADIZ, Ky. (July 22, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear and state and local leaders today ceremonially broke ground for a new bridge on Lake Barkley—the second of the much-anticipated twin Lake Bridges in the tourism-rich Jackson Purchase of Western Kentucky.

Rendering of proposed basket-handle tied arch bridge.

“This is a great day that has been a long time in coming,” Beshear said. “Modern bridges for both Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake have been badly needed for many years. For the residents of our Lakes region and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who are drawn every year to Land Between The Lakes, our two new bridges offer a vast improvement in traveling safety and convenience.”

Construction of the $128.3 million project will result in a modern, four-lane bridge to carry U.S. 68/KY 80 and serve as the eastern entrance to Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area. The contractor is PCL Civil Construction, of Denver.

The bridge will replace the Henry Lawrence Memorial Bridge, a narrow, two-lane bridge built in 1932 that long ago ceased to meet design standards for modern volumes and types of traffic, including recreational vehicles and freight carriers. The new bridge, which will feature a basket-handle arch design, will have four travel lanes, each 11 feet wide, plus 4-foot shoulders and a 10-foot pedestrian-bicycle path.

The larger Lake Bridges Project also includes replacement of the Eggners Ferry Bridge on Kentucky Lake – a near twin of the Henry Lawrence Memorial. Construction of the new Kentucky Lake bridge is already underway. Gov. Beshear broke ground for it in September 2014.

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. In the Kentucky Lake region, approximately 2 miles of U.S. 68/KY 80 is being 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 that runs through Land Between The Lakes.

The Kentucky Lake project has two parts. Jim Smith Contracting, of Grand Rivers, was awarded a contract in 2014 to construct causeways and also a new bridge over a lagoon on the west side of Kentucky Lake, just north of U.S. 68/KY 80 and adjacent to the Kenlake State Resort Park campground. The lagoon bridge forms an approach to the main lake bridge.

The new Lake Barkley bridge is expected to be open to traffic by October 2017. The new Kentucky Lake bridge, is expected to be ready for traffic in December 2015, with completion in 2016. Additional information on the Lake Bridges project can be found at