Therefore, I won’t say that it appears new U.S. 68/Ky. 80 bridges will be built over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley within my lifetime. I’ll simply say that work toward such bridges continues to progress.
Tuesday morning, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the recipient of the contract for the constrution of the new Eggner Ferry Bridge, which spans Kentucky Lake and connects Trigg and Marshall counties at Aurora – Marshall County’s easternmost community – and Fenton – the western edge of Land Between the Lakes.
Beshear went on to say he expects the contract for the Lawrence Memorial Bridge, which spans Lake Barkley and connects Canton to the eastern edge of LBL, to be awarded in December.
I can remember hearing folks talking about the need for new bridges when I was a child. I’m now 34 years old.
I can remember, again in my younger days, feeling that the prevailing attitude toward our state government was that the needs of folks within a stone’s throw of Frankfort, Louisville or Lexington would always come before the needs of those in our neck of the woods. To a degree, that feeling has not subsided.
The new bridge projects are part of a larger plan to establish a four-lane path from Bowling Green to Mayfield. As of now, the only part of that path that is not four-lane stretches from the eastern edge of Cadiz to Lake Barkley. Being last on the list doesn’t do much to change that feeling of being left out, especially when the Murray and Mayfield areas, both west of here, received four-lane attention before Cadiz has.
It’s been two years since the Delta Mariner crashed into Eggner Ferry Bridge, destroying a span, affecting travel paths for several months and generally scaring plenty of area folks at the thought of being on either current bridge when something goes wrong. Perhaps the fact that only one span fell should make us feel safer about the current bridges – after continuing to drive over those bridges every day since the accident, I remain unconvinced.
Which begs the question – would we be getting these fancy new bridges so quickly if the accident hadn’t happened? Probably, since the four-lane has been planned for a while.
Of course, the bridges themselves had been talked about for decades before it looked like something was actually going to be done about them.
All of this is just talk, though, perhaps stoked by a little impatience and paranoia – that feeling that we’ve waited long enough, and the longer we wait, the more it feels like we’ll still be waiting quite a while longer.
Which we will.
Work continues on the Lagoon Bridge, which will connect to the new Eggner Ferry Bridge on the west side of the lake. I see it every day, and aside from the last week when nobody was doing much of anything outside because of the weather, it seems like I see new progress consistently.
I’m trying to stay optimistic. The announcement of the contract being awarded makes that a little easier to do.
But optimism and impatience are an odd mix, hopefully not one that will drive me crazy in the coming years.
Justin McGill is general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.