Government
4:14 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Beshear Considers Ferry Service

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says state officials are aggressively searching for options to accommodate traffic at the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge.  The Governor says he expects inspection reports to be ready within the next couple of weeks to help clearly layout a timeline for whichever options are deemed best. He says though, at this point, it looks like one of the quickest options may be establishing a ferry service at the site:

“It is at least a partial answer, and a little bit of help not only for the traffic, but for our businesses, for our parks, for the tourism trade, and for folks that need to go back and forth and commute and go to school, and do all of the other things that folks use this bridge for.”

Beshear says a ferry would only be used as a temporary fix, as it would not be able to accommodate the nearly 3,000 vehicles a day that used the bridge before the Delta Mariner collided into it. He says though, establishing a ferry is a complex issue that will require a concerted effort with the state, US Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, and Tennessee Valley Authority.

The Governor wouldn't go into detail this morning on a federal lawsuit facing the state over the collapsed Bridge. Foss Maritime which owns the ship that collided with the bridge has filed a suit seeking to exonerate itself from any liability. The suit claims the collision occurred because the bridges lights were not working. Beshear says that's an issue the courts will need to handle.

"Suffice it to say that, I'm at least told, that this vessel was way out of the main channel. And all you gotta do is look at this bridge head on, and see where the ship should have been. We'll see how that goes, but we're not gonna let lawsuits stand in the way of moving this forward as fast as possible." 

Beshear says the state's lawyers will formulate a plan to seek reimbursement from Foss through the legal system once the Coast Guard finishes its investigation of the incident.