Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, along with transportation cabinet officials and local leaders, ceremonially broke ground Wednesday on the new $128.3 million bridge at Lake Barkley - the second of the new four-lane bridges leading into Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
Beshear, a western Kentucky native, says seeing the bridges under construction is one of his proudest experiences as governor.
“When I announced this project and we broke ground for the Kentucky Lake bridge, I said to some of you then, you know, I won’t be in this office by the time both of these bridges are finished, but I’m going to make darn sure they’re so far along that nobody can do anything about it except finish them," Beshear told a packed room at Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
Beshear said the lake bridges project has been a high priority of his administration.
“Both because I know what they mean from a transportation standpoint, but I also know what they mean from an economic development standpoint," Beshear said.
Meanwhile, the new $133 million bridge over Kentucky Lake is still on target to open to traffic by the end of the year before being fully completed sometime in 2016. The massive basket handle arch for the main span that has appeared on the eastern side of the existing Eggner’s Ferry Bridge will be placed around late October, after four weeks of painting.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd said the 83-year-old Eggner's Ferry Bridge will be demolished soon after the new Kentucky Lake bridge opens to traffic.
Once completed, the new lake bridges will eventually be part of a four-lane corridor that stretches from Bowling Green to Mayfield.