Osprey Eggs Stall Demolition of OId Eggner's Ferry Bridge

May 6, 2016

An osprey on the old Eggner's Ferry Bridge
Credit Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Federally-protected ospreys are slowing the demolition of the old Eggner’s Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake.

The new bridge opened to two-lane traffic last month and the U.S. Coast Guard has asked the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to expedite the demolition process due to an offset between the main navigation channels of the two bridges. But KYTC spokesman Keith Todd says the contractor was unable to keep the birds from laying eggs on the 84-year-old structure.

“They have actually put down eggs on the bare steel atop the truss of the old bridge," Todd said. "That has created a number of issues similar to what we had last year.”

The birds held up construction on the new $133 million bridge around this time last year.

Distribution of ospreys in Kentucky, as of 2011
Credit Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Ospreys are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. No osprey nests were confirmed in the commonwealth from 1949 to 1986, but the birds are on the rebound, particularly in western Kentucky.

Todd says the possible presence of gray bats underneath the old bridge is also slowing work.

Determining if the eggs are viable could take weeks or months, according to the KYTC.