Bridge Nightmare: One year later

More than a year ago, on Jan. 26, 2012, the Delta Mariner, struck a portion of the Eggners Ferry Bridge that stretches over Kentucky Lake.

In the dark of the night repair crews from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Marshall County Rescue Squad, Kentucky State Police and the Coast Guard reported to scene and worked throughout the night to re-route traffic, and start planning the future of the bridge.

A large gap on the eastern portion of the bridge remained over a secondary channel of the lake while state officials scrambled to find repair funds. In March, Gov. Steve Beshear told a crowd at the Kenlake State Resort Park Lodge the bridge would be restored before Memorial Day.

While at the lodge Beshear said: “Since the night the bridge was struck and the highway was severed, we have worked with one thought in mind – to get this bridge repaired and route 68/80 reopened as quickly as possible,” Beshear said. “We have never lost sight of the damage that the loss of this bridge is doing to area businesses and the toll it has taken, in time and fuel cost, on folks who have been forced into long detours to get from one side of the lakes to the other.”

An emergency contract to repair and reopen the damaged Eggners Ferry Bridge was established and plans were announced for the bridge to reopen by May 27. The KTC accepted a $7 million bid proposed by Hall Contracting of Kentucky, Inc., and a penalty included a fine of $50,000 for each day past the May 27 deadline.

Less than six months after the accident, the 300-foot span of the bridge collapsed was replaced.

Last semester, Mark Welch, director of community relations and public information, said the repair to the bridge has been invaluable to Murray State’s retention. He said life was easier for many commuters and tourists to the area because of the repair.

The US 68/KY 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge is at the western entrance to Land between the Lakes National Recreation Area. The Bridge carries approximately 2,650 vehicles across Kentucky Lake per day.

The morning the bridge reopened, there was a celebration where thousands of people came to walk or bike across the newly repaired structure. By that afternoon, the bridge was open to traffic.

For past articles on the Eggners Ferry Bridge click here.

 Staff Report.