Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear opens new U.S. 60 Tennessee River bridge linking McCracken, Livingston counties
New four-lane bridge completed nearly 11 months ahead of schedule
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear, joined by local officials, today ceremonially opened the U.S. 60 Tennessee River bridge at the McCracken/Livingston county line – a project completed nearly 11 months ahead of schedule.
“Motorists, including farmers and hundreds of daily commuters, have long awaited the opening of this bridge, which connects the important economic corridor between U.S. 60 and U.S. 62,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to congratulate the team of Kay & Kay Construction Co. and Haydon Bridge Co. for their hard work to get this bridge opened to traffic efficiently and ahead of schedule.”
The new, $95 million bridge features four lanes with a 5-foot shoulder. It is a quarter-mile upstream from the Ledbetter Bridge, a two-lane span that had served countless travelers since 1931.
Crews began construction on the piers at a cost of $28.4 million. The superstructure and additional piers were constructed under a separate contract. The venture of Kay & Kay/Haydon submitted the low bid of $66.3 million in 2010.
“This $95-million project, which has been a major investment in our region, paves the way for safer travel and greater opportunity for economic growth. It is rewarding to see continued progress in our transportation infrastructure, especially when it has such an impact on the region and the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Dorsey Ridley, of Henderson. “Thank you to Gov. Beshear and to all those involved – and there have been many – for getting us to this point. I am gratified to see us completing the U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge and paving the way to a brighter future for our region.”
In November 2012, transportation officials negotiated a $3.8 million incentive package with the, Kay & Kay/Haydon team. The goal was to get the new bridge opened to two-way traffic ahead of the scheduled July 2014 opening date to help alleviate traffic restrictions caused by a 3-ton load limit on the old bridge. The contractors received $2.1 million for opening the bridge ahead of schedule.
The contractors saved time in part by placing 2-lane traffic on the new bridge while its new coat of light green paint is applied to one half of the truss. Traffic then will be shifted to allow painting of the other half.
“As traffic has increased on US 60 and US 62 over the past several years, it became obvious that the old Ledbetter Bridge needed to be replaced,” said Rep. Lynn Bechler, of Marion. “This new bridge not only accommodates the amount of traffic between Livingston and McCracken County, but also creates a safer corridor for people depending on the road to get to and from work and school.”
Accelerating completion of the new bridge was considered the best option after the load limit on the 82-year-old Ledbetter bridge had to be reduced to 3 tons in January 2012. The load limit restricted the aging structure to passenger vehicles and unloaded standard pickup trucks. Eliminating truck traffic from the existing structure has created a hardship for area businesses and farmers.
“This is a great day for our region, and I’m proud I could play a role in helping to make this happen,” said Rep. Will Coursey, of Symsonia. “The old Ledbetter Bridge has been a true lifeline over the years, but the need for this more modern replacement has been evident for quite some time. I saw that first-hand when I had the privilege to inspect it a few years ago with a road crew. With that in mind, I especially want to thank the construction workers for beating the expected timeframe by nearly a year.”
“I’m really pleased that this project was able to move forward so quickly, because it really means a lot to us here in West Kentucky, which relies on bridges more than most regions of the state, “said Rep. Gerald Watkins, of Paducah. “I want to thank my colleagues in the General Assembly and Gov. Beshear for their efforts in making all of this possible.”