UPDATE: 4:16 p.m.
What started as a drop in two approach spans at the west end of the Old Ledbetter Bridge over the Tennessee River has turned into a multi-agency response to land slippage along a bluff on the McCracken County side of the river.
According to McCracken County Emergency Management Director Jerome Mansfield, no evacuation of homes along the bluff has been ordered. However, this afternoon McCracken County sheriff’s deputies went door-to-door in the area to make nearby residents aware of the land slip.
“Residents along the bluff should be diligent and report any unusual sounds, land movement, or cracks in the soil and report those immediately so prompt action can be taken,” Mansfield said in a statement released by KYTC. “Anyone who sees anything unusual should report it to the local 911 call center immediately.”
KYTC geotechnical specialists and engineers are looking at the land slippage. Mansfield has requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Kentucky Geological Survey send personnel to the site to assess conditions along the bluff.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet inspectors are busy determining the cause of a 3-4 foot drop to the west approach of the Old Ledbetter Bridge connecting Livingston and McCracken counties.
U.S. 60 traffic was moved to a new bridge last summer, but river traffic under the 83-year-old bridge has been halted by the coast guard.
KYTC spokesman Keith Todd says the drop could be a result of the harsh winter weather.
“Once we got out here and started doing some additional investigation, they found that apparently there’s been some land slippage along the bluff here and that has moved the bottom of two of the approach piers,” Todd said.
Todd said it’s difficult to say if similar drops could occur with other older bridges in the area.
A 3-ton load limit was instituted for the bridge in January 2012 prompting an effort to expedite construction of the new U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter. Todd said bids are currently being evaluated for the bridge’s demolition.