PADUCAH, Ky. (6/15/13) – Work continues to progress on the new U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter. Work to install a new traffic signal at the McCracken County end and signs are the newest pieces of the puzzle to start moving into place.
Motorists are reminded to use caution while traveling U.S. 62 at McCracken County mile point 13.588 near what will eventually be the new intersection of U.S. 60 and U.S. 62 at a former crossover for Ashland Road.
While the new bridge is still on track to open in mid-summer, KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Jim LeFevre emphasized there is still a lot of work to complete.
“We can’t project an opening date until we get several weeks out from adding traffic to the new bridge, and even then there will be a long checklist to work through,” LeFevre said. “We should be able to assess the remaining work in late-July which will then allow us to reasonably estimate an opening date.”
In November 2012, transportation officials negotiated a $3.8 million incentive package with the contractor, Kay & Kay/Haydon Brothers, to get the new bridge opened to two-way traffic ahead of the scheduled July 2014 opening date.
Starting May 1, the state has deducted $19,000 per day, or $791.66 per hour from the incentive fund. If two-lane traffic is not running on the new bridge by Sept. 1, the contractor will not receive any of the incentive package.
LeFevre emphasized the need for patience as work continues.
“We are committed to construct this new bridge so it can last 100 years,” LeFevre said. “We will not take any short cuts that might create safety issues for the public. As soon as we can calculate a date for moving traffic to the new bridge we’ll share it. Meanwhile, we’re asking everyone to remain patient in the knowledge that we are making progress each and every day.”
Before traffic can be allowed on the bridge, the remainder of the bridge deck and the concrete barrier walls must be poured.
The contractor still has about 626 feet of bridge deck to pour. Once deck installation is complete the contractor will have to finish pouring concrete barrier walls along the deck before traffic can be allowed on the bridge.
Some of the time saved on the project comes from placing 2-lane traffic on the new bridge while half of the truss is being painted, then shifting traffic to allow painting of the rest of the steel superstructure. Painters have already completed some areas of the steel truss with a three coat paint system, with the final coat being a light green.
Accelerating completion of the new bridge was considered the best option after the load limit on the existing 82-year-old bridge had to be reduced to 3 tons in January 2012. The load limit restricts the aging structure to passenger vehicles and unloaded standard pickup trucks.
Updated information about the Ledbetter Bridge, will be posted for the public at www.facebook.com/kytcdistrict1. This site is your source for timely and reliable information about the Ledbetter Bridge.
Information provided by Keith Todd (Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)
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