U.S. 68 bridge construction will begin after soil studies
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Jul 07, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Work on the new bridges across Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake will begin after all the studies concerning easements and causeways are completed, said officials at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Ted Merryman, chief engineer for District Two, told the Pennyrile Area Development District’s transportation committee recently that preliminary work is ongoing and that crews are investigating earthquake needs for the bridges, and added that crews with H.C. Nuttin will start drilling to take geotechnical samples within the week.

Keith Todd, public information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said that while they know a lot about the soil around Kentucky Lake, information about the soil around Lake Barkley is lacking.

Merryman said one small dilemma will be all of the federal and state agencies that they have to get approval from in order to start and complete the project. Todd said that Merryman’s basic point was that the bridges need to be affordable as possible, as every $1 million not spent on these bridges can be spent on bridges across the state.

The Kentucky Highway Plan for the fiscal years 2010–2016, which was presented to the General Assembly in February, includes $330 million for new bridges across Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake.

The road plan also includes money for the widening of more than 4 miles of U.S. 68/80 on the eastern side of Lake Barkley, as well as money for a replacement of the bridge across Ky. 1585.

The new four-lane bridges along Highway 68/80 would replace the current two-lane bridges that were first built in 1932, and would be built near the current bridges’ locations at Aurora and Canton.

By 2011, construction is set to begin, Project Manager Tim Shoate said at a public hearing that was held at the Lake Barkley Convention Center in November, 2008.

Todd said the bridges appear to be on schedule so far, although he won’t have a timeline for the completion of the widening of U.S. 68/80 in Land Between the Lakes until later this month.

Each bridge will cost about $178 million, Beshear announced to a packed room at a press conference at Lake Barkley State Resort Park and Lodge last July.

The two replacement bridges are part of the U.S. 68 corridor reconstruction project, which is slated to be completed by late 2017, said Chuck Wolfe of the Governor’s Office.

The twin basket handle, tied-arch 550-foot, four-lane spans will include 11-foot lanes, four-foot shoulders and an eight-foot sidewalk and bike path, Wolfe said.

The rest of the highway plan can be seen online at http://


The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will be holding a public information session in the fall to reveal the paths for the bridges, especially in the Canton area, where a new causeway will have to be built, said Merryman.
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