The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has awarded the construction contract to replace the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge to Texas-based Johnson Brothers Corporation.
The $131.5 million contract allows for a four lane bridge carrying U-S 68/ KY 80 over Kentucky Lake which serves as the western entrance to Land Between the Lakes.
The KYTC began taking bids for the project in December.
District 1 Spokesman Keith Todd says with the bidding process over, the project will begin moving faster.
“You want see any construction out there very soon," said Todd. "They’ll start moving in equipment -- a project of this size takes a lot of equipment and very heavy equipment -- they have to order steel, those types of things to get the project rolling. "As we start on into March, our goal is to have traffic on the new bridge by the end of 2015.”
The new bridge will replace the narrow and functionally obsolete Eggners Ferry Bridge, which was built in 1932 and long ago ceased to meet modern design standards for the amount of traffic it must accommodate. The Eggners Ferry, joining Marshall and Trigg counties, has two lanes, each 10 feet wide, with no shoulders.
Todd says the new bridge will have four 11-foot-wide travel lanes, plus 4-foot shoulders and a 10 foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle path. He says the new bridge will be a basket-handle arch design.
"These bridges are actually pretty rare," said Todd. "I don’t think there are more than just a few dozens of them scattered around the world. Apparently there are several of them in Asia but will be the only place in the world where there are two of these basket handle arch bridges within eight miles of each other."
The recent award is the second for the Kentucky Lake Project, which consisted of two construction contracts.
The first, awarded earlier this year to Jim Smith Contracting, of Grand Rivers, was to construct the fill for the western and eastern causeways in the location of the new bridge alignment. Part of the $25 million project also included the Lagoon Bridge on the west side of Kentucky Lake, just north of U.S. 68/KY 80 and adjacent to the Kenlake State Resort Park campground. Work still continues on this portion of the project.
Once completed, the Lake Bridges Project will provide a continuous, four-lane route from Aurora to Cadiz, crossing both lakes and LBL. It also will be part of a four-lane corridor from Mayfield to Bowling Green.
The next phase of the Lake Bridges Project includes replacement of the Henry Lawrence Memorial Bridge over Lake Barkley - a near twin of the Kentucky Lake bridge. Todd says that contract is aimed to be awarded by December 2014.