Kentucky Dam Railroad Bridge

    Kentucky Dam Railroad Bridge

    The Kentucky Dam Railroad Bridge carries the Paducah & Louisville Railway over the Tennessee River at Kentucky Dam in western Kentucky.

    The Kentucky Dam, a hydroelectric facility on the Tennessee River on the county line between Livingston and Marshall counties, was completed in 1944. The dam initially carried the Illinois Central Railroad and Paducah & Louisville Railroad 4 and two lanes of US Route 62 and 641 at its crest.

    As part of a $734 million project to construct a new lock at the east end of the Kentucky Dam and to renovate the entire facility, US Route 62 and the Paducah & Louisville Railway (PAL) were rerouted from atop the dam to their own separate structures just to the north. 1 2 Part of the existing roadway atop the dam was retained to access a visitors center while the railroad tracks were removed.

    In September 2005, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded an $89 million contract to the American Bridge Company for the new railroad and highway bridges. 5 Work was intentionally slowed down because of a lack of continued funding. The main span truss, weighing 4.4 million pounds, was floated along the Tennessee River from its erection site, raised via hydraulic jacks, and then slid into place onto the new bridge piers in August 2009. 3 The new Kentucky Dam Railroad Bridge opened for the PAL on November 22, 2009. 2 The combined cost of the new railroad and highway bridges was $97 million.


    • State: Kentucky
    • Route: Paducah & Louisville Railway
    • Type: Warren Through Truss
    • Status: Active - Railroad
    • Main Span Length: 500 feet


    1. “State ban on travel over dam extended.” Paducah Sun, 26 Sept. 2009, pp. A1-A3.
    2. “New road near Kentucky Dam to open Wednesday.” Paducah Sun, 24 Nov. 2009, p. A2.
    3. “A time-consuming task.” Paducah Sun, 20 Aug. 2009, p. A1.
    4. Bogart, Charles H. “Illinois Central Railroad.” Railroads of Kentucky during the 1940s & 1950s, 2018, p. 107.
    5. Walker, Joe. “Olmstead a winner in Bush budget.” Paducah Sun, 7 Feb. 2006, pp. 1A-10A.

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