Emergency demolition ordered for Old Ledbetter Bridge

Old ‘Ledbetter Bridge’ formerly carried U.S. 60 over Tennessee River

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 15, 2014) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has arranged for emergency demolition of the old U.S. 60 bridge over the Tennessee River between McCracken and Livingston counties.

 

The Old Ledbetter Bridge, closed to traffic since July 2013, has become unstable because of land slippage along the McCracken County river bank following heavy rains on April 29.

 

A joint venture of Haydon Bridge Co. and Kay and Kay Construction Co., which built the New U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge, will carry out demolition of the old structure under a change order to its contract. The company is completing finish work on the new bridge.

 

The negotiated price of the demolition will be $5.62 million. The contractor is to begin work immediately, with the first step being to mobilize equipment and conduct a thorough engineering analysis.

 

While the main truss spans of the old bridge are stable, two approach spans have dropped about 2 feet due to slippage of the ground under their piers.

 

“Quick action is needed, and this is the fastest way to eliminate a potential hazard to river traffic,” State Highway Engineer Steve Waddle said.

 

A schedule for the project calls for crews to spend four weeks removing the bridge deck, beginning about June 10. Next would be removal of the steel truss, requiring most of July. Support piers would be cleared by the end of August. All work, including debris cleanup and demobilization, would be completed by Dec. 1.

 

After receiving a report that two west-end approach spans had dropped, KYTC inspectors found that a landslide had occurred and had caused the bases of two approach piers on the McCracken County side to move.

 

Due to concern about possible damage to the main truss spans, the U.S. Coast Guard closed the river to marine traffic until inspectors determined that the main spans were safe. River traffic resumed with an advisory that boats should avoid stopping along the bluff near the bridge

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The Old Ledbetter Bridge opened to traffic in 1931.  It was reduced to a 3-ton load limit in January 2012, which led to expedited opening of the new bridge on July 31, 2013.