The old Eggner’s Ferry Bridge carried US Route 68 and KY Route 80 across Kentucky Lake between Trigg and Marshall County, Kentucky.
The Eggner’s Ferry Bridge, designed by J.M. Johnson and constructed by the Vincennes Bridge Company of Vincennes, Indiana, opened to traffic on March 25, 1932. 5 8
The crossing was funded by the Murphy Toll Bridge Act which was passed by the Kentucky legislature in 1928. 12 The Act allowed the State Department of Highways to erect highway bridges across the state and allowed the state to sell construction bonds that would be paid back by tolls.
The Union Bridge & Construction Company was awarded a $237,545 contract for the substructure, and the Vincennes Bridge Company was awarded a $298,097 contract for the superstructure on October 2, 1930. 14
The bridge was closed to traffic because of the construction of Kentucky Lake on July 10, 1943. As part of the project, the crossing was raised 25 feet and extended lengthwise by 148 feet 6 at the cost of $384,000 by the Rust Engineering Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 7 Only 330 feet of the original 3,348-foot structure remained unchanged. During the closure, a ferry was established. 5
Governor Simeon S. Willis presided over the reopening of the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge in February 1944. 11
On January 26, 2012, at 8:10 PM CST, 3 a 322-foot section 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.
A dive team from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet installed sensors on a damaged bridge pier that detects the degree of tilt and movement. 10 While emergency inspections found the western half of the span to be in stable condition, the pier on the eastern span was moved out of position.
As time was of the essence, bids for the replacement of the destroyed span were let on February 27 with the bids due by March 5. 13 The new span needed to be opened to traffic by May 27, the start of Memorial Day weekend or the contractor would endure a $50,000 per day penalty.
With a bid of $7 million, Hall Contracting was selected as the preferred contractor on March 7. 13 The company selected Michael Baker Corporation was the designer for the span, which would be fabricated by Padgett of New Albany, Indiana, and United Steel of Louisville. For simplicity, a 320-foot Warren through truss was sent for approval on March 31, which was sent for final review on April 10 and approved on April 17.
The truss was assembled at the Eddyville port and shipped down Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake where it was lifted into place and secured. 13 The rebuilt span opened to traffic on May 25. 11 13
The circa 1932 Eggner’s Ferry Bridge was closed in May 2016 and was demolished via explosives on July 25, replaced by a modern four-lane tied-arch bridge. 11 The circa 2012 truss was salvaged for reuse elsewhere.
- State: Kentucky
- Route: US Route 68, KY Route 80
- Type: Parker Through Truss, Pratt Through Truss, Warren Through Truss
- Status: Demolished - Replaced
- Total Length: 3,104 feet
- Main Span Length: 321 feet
- Deck Width: 20 feet
- Above Vertical Clearance: 18 feet
- Navigational Clearance:
- Wolfe, Chuck. “Governor Beshear unveils design for US 68 lakes bridges.” Office of Public Affairs. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, 14 July 2009. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. Article..
- “Eggner Ferry Bridge collapses after ship strike.” WPSD-6. Ed. Michael Vick. N.p., 26 Jan. 2012. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. Article.
- Long, James. “No reported injuries in Ky. bridge collapse.” KFVS-12. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. Article.
- “Bridge Type Selection.” Lake Bridges over Kentucky Lake & Lake Barkley. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. Article.
- Harper, Thomas D. “Between the Rivers.” Trigg County. Charleston: Arcadia, 2010. 9. Print.
- Stevenson, Mark Allen and Bill Baxter. “The Largest: Kentucky Dam.”Tennessee Valley Authority in Vintage Postcards: Arcadia, 2005. 87. Print.
- Engineering News-Record. Vol. 132. 85. N.p.: McGraw, 1944. N. pag. Print.
- American Highways. Vols. 23-27. N.p.: American Association of State Highway Officials, 1948. N. pag.Print.
- “Bridge collapses in Kentucky after being rammed by hulking freighter carrying space rocket parts.” Daily Mail. N.p., 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2012. Article.
- “Update from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.” The Front Blog. N.p., 28 Jan. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. Article.
- “Eggners Ferry Bridge.” Four Rivers Explorer, 12 May 2016.
- Holth, Nathan. “Eggner’s Ferry Bridge.” HistoricBridges.org, 2 Nov. 2013.
- McGregor, Mike and J.B. Williams. “Eggners Ferry Emergency Repair.” Partnering Conference 2012.
- “Western Kentucky and Its Residents are Becoming More Strongly Linked With the Other Parts of State Through New Spans.” Sun-Demorat [Paducah], 14 Aug. 1931, p. 3.