Eggner’s Ferry Bridge (US 68, KY 80)
Eggner’s Ferry Bridge carries US 68 and KY 80 across Kentucky Lake between Trigg and Marshall counties.
The Eggner’s Ferry Bridge opened to traffic on March 25, 1932, carrying US 68 over the Tennessee River.5 8 On July 10, 1943, the bridge was closed to traffic was the span as part of the construction of Kentucky Lake. As part of the project, the bridge was raised 25 feet and extended lengthwise by 148 feet.6 Only 330 feet of the original 3,348 feet remained unchanged. The cost to raise and extend the bridge was $384,000 and was completed by the Rust Engineering Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.7 During the closure, a ferry was established.5
On January 26, 2012, at 8:10 PM CST,3 322-feet of the bridge collapsed after being struck by a cargo ship.2 Initial reports stated that some of the navigational lights were not in operation, and that a project headed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet was scheduled for January 27 to perform maintenance work on the lights. The Coast Guard had earlier notified barge companies of the issue.2 There were no injuries among the 20 crew members that were aboard the boat.3
Robert Parker and his wife, of Cadiz, were traveling eastbound on the highway and were driving on the darkened span in the rain when they noticed that a section of the bridge was missing.9 Parker was able to stop the vehicle from five feet of the collapse. Two cars behind him also narrowly avoided colliding with his vehicle.
“All of a sudden, I see the road’s gone and I hit the brakes. It got close.”
-Robert Parker 9
A dive team from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet installed sensors on a damaged pier of the bridge that detect the degree of tilt and movement.10 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.
The bridge carries 6,250 vehicles per day.10
As part of the four-lane upgrades of US 68 and KY 80 in southern Kentucky, Eggner’s Ferry Bridge is slated for replacement with a four-lane crossing.
The bridge selection process began in mid-2007, which included arch, girder, truss and cable-stay bridge types.4 On July 14, 2009, Governor Beshear unveiled the design of the replacement, a tied arch span that would be unique to the state.1 The new 550-foot, four-lane bridge design included 11-foot lanes, 4-foot shoulders and a separate 8-foot sidewalk and bike path.
The estimated cost of the design and construction of the new bridge is $178 million.1 Construction began in 2011 and is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2017.
The four-lane alignment through Land Between the Lakes, situated between Kentucky Lake and Lake Berkley, was completed in November 2010 after being under construction for three years.