AURORA, Ky. – Demolition of the Old Eggners Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake near Aurora is expected to ramp up starting this week.
Demolition work will kick-off with efforts to remove the concrete deck from the 85 year-old structure. Saw cutting of the concrete decking could start as early as Monday afternoon, June 20.
“We anticipate a cutting crew will start work during the afternoon on Monday to be followed within a few days by a night crew removing the cut sections,” said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor. “The deck removal process is expected to take about 2 to 4 weeks to complete.”
McGregor says the contractor intends to maintain the deck removal work around the clock.
Once deck removal is completed, spans “A” and “F” at each end of the bridge will be lifted from the piers by cranes and placed on barges for disassembly. These shorter spans are partially over land and are better suited for lifting by cranes. The remaining steel truss spans will dropped into the lake with the use of explosives, then retrieved for recycling.
“Our best estimate is that the explosive demolition would be in late-July or early-August,” McGregor said. “Our contractor has notified the Coast Guard of this tentative schedule so they can alert the towing industry.”
Due to an offset of the navigation channel between structures, the U.S. Coast Guard has requested that the main spans of the old bridge structure be removed as quickly as possible.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has worked to coordinate efforts with the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) on wildlife issues. KDFWR officials are monitoring the demolition to assure it meets all provisions of the Migratory Bird Act and other regulations.
Traffic was moved to the New U.S. 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge on April 8. That move prompted accelerated planning to demolish the old bridge.
While the new bridge is open to two-way traffic on what will become the westbound lanes, construction of a multi-use path and other finish work continues along the eastbound lanes. The New Eggners Ferry Bridge is expected to be ready for four-lane traffic by sometime in late-July.
The Old U.S. 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge initially opened to traffic in March 1932. In 1943, the bridge was closed for 6 months to allow the bridge to be raised to accommodate higher water levels due to the impounding of Kentucky Lake. The crossing has remained active since regular ferry service started at the site sometime in the 1840’s.
Johnson Brothers Corporation of Ft. Worth, TX, a Southland Company, is the prime contractor on the $133 million New Eggners Ferry Bridge project, which includes demolition of the old structure.