FRANKFORT, KY (3/20/12) – Gov. Steve Beshear has signed an executive order formally declaring a regional state of emergency in the destruction of a span of the Eggners Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake.
The order is a formal step to enable the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to seek emergency funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in the cabinet’s ongoing work to restore traffic across Kentucky Lake.
“We continue to explore every possible avenue in our efforts to restore traffic to this vital highway in western Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “My executive order is one more step toward that objective. By working with our partners at FHWA, we hope to speed the process as much as possible.”
The two-lane Eggners Ferry Bridge carries U.S. 68/KY 80 across the lake between Marshall and Trigg counties. The route was severed when a cargo vessel owned by Foss Maritime struck and ripped away a 322-foot span of the bridge on the night of Jan. 26. The following day, KYTC notified FHWA of Kentucky’s intent to request emergency funding to help offset costs of repairs, transportation alternatives and debris removal.
Gov. Beshear previously announced that engineers who conducted an underwater inspection reported “no significant damage” to the bridge’s piers. That was a positive development in KYTC’s ongoing assessment of options for interim and permanent solutions.
The 80-year-old Eggners Ferry Bridge provides the western entrance to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL), one of Kentucky’s most important tourism sites.
Substantial preconstruction work has been carried out for two new bridges that will replace the Eggners Ferry Bridge and a similarly aged and obsolete bridge over Lake Barkley, on the other side of LBL. The recommended highway plan that Gov. Beshear sent to the General Assembly on Jan. 17 provides $330 million in construction funding. That funding will not be affected by cost of repairs to the old bridge.
Information provided by the office of Gov. Steve Beshear
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