It has not been a good year for Kentucky’s bridge infrastructure.
Earlier this year, the Sherman Minton Bridge over the Ohio River that carries Interstate 64 and U.S. Route 150 between Louisville and New Albany, Indiana closed to all traffic after cracks were discovered in the span. And just tonight, another critical crossing has been closed after a barge hit a pier and caused a portion of the bridge to collapse.
The Eggner’s Ferry Bridge, which carries U.S. Route 68 and Kentucky State Route 80 over Kentucky Lake between Trigg and Marshall counties was hit by a barge at 8:10 PM CST. The span, which opened to traffic in 1932 and was raised in 1943 to allow for the completion of the Kentucky Lake project, was slated for replacement.
Initial reports indicated that navigational lights may have been broken on the span, which were scheduled for repair tomorrow. The Coast Guard had notified barge companies of the issue. No vehicles were on the bridge at the time of the collapse and that there were no injuries among the 20 crew members that were aboard the boat.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet reported around 11:00 AM CST that two spans collapsed.
The US 68/KY 80 Eggner’s Ferry Bridge is indefinitely closed to all traffic. Suggested detour routes include:
- From US 68 eastbound east of Paducah but west of Lake Kentucky, take the Purchase Parkway north at Draffenville to Interstate 24 east to Exit 65 near Cadez.
- From US 68 westbound west of Russellville, take Interstate 24 west to Exit 25 for the Purchase Parkway south to Exit 47 at Daffenville.
- For KY 80 traffic eastbound at Murray, take US 641 north to the Purchase Parkway, proceed north and then east on Interstate 24 to Exit 65 near Cadez.
- For KY 80 traffic eastbound at Mayfield, take the Purchase Parkway north. Follow the directions above to Exit 65 along Interstate 24.
- For KY 80 traffic westbound west of Russellville, take Interstate 24 west to Exit 25 for the Purchase Parkway south to Exit 41 for Murray via US 641 or Exit 22 for Mayfield.
- For traffic south of the affected area, US 79 in Tennessee is a viable east-west alternative. For traffic north, Interstate 24 is a viable east-west alternative.
The affected bridge is highlighted here.