The 3,495-foot Eggner’s Ferry Bridge, designated as U.S. Route 68 and Kentucky State Route 80, opened to traffic on March 25, 1932 and was raised in 1943 as part of the Kentucky Lake project. On January 26, 2012, at 8:10 PM CST, a 322-foot section of the bridge collapsed after being struck by a tow-boat barge.
A dive team from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plan on installing sensors on a damaged pier of the bridge that will detect the degree of tilt and can detect movement. While emergency inspections found the western half of the span to be in stable condition, the a pier on the eastern span was moved out of position.
There are more questions now than ever on the future of the out-of-commission span. As Eggner’s Ferry Bridge was slated for replacement with a tied-arch bridge design, is it feasible to complete repairs to the pier and install a new superstructure if it is expected that it will be demolished shortly after? How seriously will the bridge, which is indefinitely closed, affect local businesses? What role did the navigation lights on the bridge have in the incident?
On Saturday and Sunday, I traveled to western Kentucky to photograph the span.