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New bridge approved crossing Cumberland River in west Kentucky

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PADUCAH, Ky. (KT) -- The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has approved a bid for a new bridge to replace one that carries U.S. 60 traffic across the Cumberland River at Smithland in Livingston County, a project expected to take three years to complete.

"Modern transportation infrastructure is vital to the continued growth and progress of west Kentucky," said Gov. Andy Beshear. "This new bridge over the Cumberland River will be an asset not just to the people of Livingston County but to the entire region for many years to come."

Jim Smith Contracting of Grand Rivers submitted a bid of $63,627,756 for the new continuous truss bridge, located next to the existing one.

In addition to being a regional transportation link, the Cumberland River Bridge is at about the halfway point of U.S. 60 in Livingston County, making it a vital part of the local transportation system for schools, law enforcement and business.

"At a time when we at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are concerned about the health and well-being of all of our fellow Kentuckians, we also are keenly aware that we must continue to build and maintain a modern, efficient highway system," Transportation Secretary Jim Gray stated. "This bridge replacement project is important to the people of Livingston County and surrounding areas, and KYTC is committed to its delivery."

Kyle Poat, chief engineer for the Paducah Transportation Office, says the new Cumberland River Bridge will be 80 percent federally funded with the state providing a 20 percent match. Initial work at the site will include a significant maintenance project on the existing 89-year-old structure.

"The general maintenance work on the existing bridge is to ensure we can maintain a high level of service through the three years of construction it will take to complete the new bridge," Poat said.

The KYTC District 1 engineering staff will be meeting with engineers from Jim Smith Contracting in early-July to establish a schedule for both the maintenance work and the start of construction on the new bridge. The first visible work on the new bridge will be basic site preparation for an equipment assembly and construction supply marshaling area to allow excavation for pier footers.

Poat said it is possible the truss will be constructed off-site and floated to the new bridge by barge, much the way the steel arch structures were added to the Eggners Ferry Bridge and the U.S. 68 Lake Barkley Bridge at Canton.

"The New U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland will have a continuous truss design similar to the U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter," he added. "It will have a 40-foot wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 6-foot shoulders that will provide ample clearance for most farm equipment to cross without stopping oncoming traffic."

The existing U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland, also known as the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial Bridge and the Smithland Bridge, is 1,817 feet long and was opened to traffic in 1931.

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