The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) expects two-lane traffic to move to the new U.S. 68/Ky. 80 Lake Barkley Bridge at Canton from the old Lake Barkley Bridge on Monday, Feb. 12.
Traffic will be allowed onto the new structure once several punch list items are completed.
In recent weeks, winter weather has hampered diamond grinding of the bridge deck, concrete finish work and tensioning of the deck support cables. KYTC engineers and the contractor conferred this morning and are confident final preparations can be completed by Monday.
“We anticipate moving two-lane traffic to the new bridge around mid-morning on Monday,” said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor.
“We will move one lane of traffic over to the new bridge; then some time will be needed to complete traffic striping and movement of traffic barricades and signage to allow the other lane of traffic to move.”
Two-way traffic will be established along what will eventually become the eastbound lanes of the new bridge.
Shifting traffic to the new bridge will allow engineers to develop a timeline for the demolition of the old Lake Barkley Bridge. Work to remove the concrete deck on the old bridge is expected to start within a day or two, with efforts directed toward demolition of the steel superstructure with use of explosives sometime in late March or in April.
During early planning for the new bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard requested that the main spans of the existing bridge structure be removed as quickly as possible once two-way traffic is moved to the new structure.
Construction of a multi-use path, painting of the main arch steel, and other finish work will continue after two-way traffic is established on the new structure. The remaining work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The existing U.S. 68/KY 80 Cumberland River/Lake Barkley Bridge, also known as the Henry R. Lawrence Memorial Bridge and the Canton Bridge, opened to traffic in 1932.
The 3,104-foot-long bridge has two 321-foot Parker through truss main spans, and a 121 ft. Pratt deck truss. It carries approximately 3,000 vehicles across Lake Barkley/the Cumberland River in an average day.
Constructed as a toll bridge, tolls were removed in August 1945. In 1963, the existing bridge was elevated 10.5 ft. to allow additional clearance for the impoundment of Lake Barkley.
The bridge, located at U.S. 68 milepoint 8.596 in Trigg County, is 9 miles west of Cadiz and serves as the eastern entrance to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. The bridge is at Cumberland River navigational milepoint 63.1.
PCL Civil Constructors of Denver is the prime contractor on a $128 million project to construct the new four-lane bridge at the Canton crossing just downstream from the existing bridge.
The new 3,805-foot-long bridge has a 550-foot basket-handle arch main span that is a twin of the U.S. 68/Ky. 80 Eggners Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake.