Eggner's Ferry Bridge On Track For Memorial Day Opening
AURORA, Ky. – The Kentucky governor's office has announced the early opening Eggner's Ferry Bridge, just four months after a section of the bridge collapsed.
The bridge was forced closed in January after the 8,200-ton Delta Mariner cargo ship struck a 322-foot long span of roadway on U.S. 68/KY 80.
The closure hindered access to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
"When the bridge connection was severed, it was imperative to restore this critical tourism and commerce link in the Kentucky Lake-Lake Barkley region as fast as we could," said Governor Beshear. "We are pleased the emergency repairs have finished ahead of schedule and especially by a Kentucky-based company."
The roadway has been scheduled to reopen Friday at 1 p.m. Officials planned to open the bridge to pedestrians from 9 a.m. to noon before it opens to traffic.
Through the week, a crew has continued finishing work along the replacement span deck and installation of guardrail along the new driving surface. They also continued work to remove some of the wooden forms used to pour the decking and curbs. Testing of samples showed all concrete used for the deck exceeds state strength specifications.
"We continue to be optimistic the remaining finish work will be completed ahead of schedule," LeFevre said on Wednesday.
In addition to serving as the western entrance to The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, the US Eggner's Ferry is key for area commuters and for tourism in Kentucky's 15-county Western Lakes Region.
According to officials with the Kentucky Western Waterland regional tourism organization, tourism dollars make a direct annual contribution of $472 million to the region and $7.4 billion to the Kentucky's statewide economy.
Kentucky state officials said it took a "phenomenal effort" to rebuild the bridge in just 121 days.
"It took a lot of cooperation and hard work to make a lot happen in a very short time. Our state highway crews, along with Hall Contracting, deserve the credit in opening this bridge expeditiously," said Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock.
A $7 million emergency repair contract was awarded to Hall Contracting of Kentucky to finish work by the Memorial Day weekend and unofficial start to the summer tourism season.