Four months after a big boat slammed into and knocked out a big part of the Eggner Ferry Bridge, our path over Kentucky Lake on U.S. 68/Ky. 80 is restored.
Friday morning, folks celebrated. Long lines of locals on both the Trigg and Marshall County sides of the bridge converged to take a walk over the bridge and see the restoration up close. Reports indicate there were long lines of cars on both sides waiting to be among the first to drive across once it opened at about 1 p.m.
I feel compelled to remind everyone of something – the bridge still ain’t all that great.
Yes, I understand the noteworthiness of our renewed ability to make it from one side of Kentucky Lake to the other without having to double our typical drive time. In fact, I, as a Marshall County resident, understand it all too well. The last four months have hit my wallet pretty hard.
And yes, it is important for us to note the hard work of the crew that completed all the repairs a couple days before the deadline imposed by Governor Steve Beshear. Getting the work done before Memorial Day Weekend began made, I’m sure, a positive impact on our local economy. Lost tourist dollars aren’t as much of a worry anymore.
All of that is well and good.
I still hate the bridge.
And you should too.
A few times over the last few months, I pondered this question: At what point after the bridge is repaired will it be acceptable to resume our original complaints about the bridge? It’s old, ugly, too narrow, people can see through toe bottom of it in places, etc.
(Reminder: Pretty much all of these complaints apply to the Lawrence Memorial Bridge over Lake Barkley, as well.)
I pondered, and I never came up with a really good answer. I knew, for most people, that it wouldn’t take long to return to those worries.
So, I figured, why wait at all?
The bottom line hasn’t changed. The bridges need to be replaced. The state government agrees and has replacements in the state road plan. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll see the new bridges within the next ... I don’t know, 10 years? I know the road plan says within the next five or so, but does anyone really believe that?
Hey, why not wait another 20 so we can get to the 100th anniversary of the current bridges? Imagine that celebration.
Sorry if you think I’m being a wet blanket. I think I’m being a realist. Maybe a bit of a pessimist, too. Sarcastic? Definitely. I don’t want to wait until my 50s to see new bridges.
Now that our preferred path to Marshall and Calloway counties is restored, folks from here might start noticing a bit of news circulating those communities. In July, Marshall County and the city of Murray will each vote on whether to allow the legal sale of package alcohol.
I live in Hardin, about 15 minutes from both Murray and Benton. So far, I haven’t seen either argument get as nasty as what we had here during our vote. There is, of course, still plenty of time.
I’m sure our neighbors over there would be interested to hear your comments on what to expect.
Justin McGill is executive editor of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.