Old Ledbetter Bridge collapses
By Pat Thomann, Editor
Since 1931, The George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, better known as The Ledbetter Bridge has been the mode of transportation for hundreds of thousands of vehicles crossing the Tennessee River between McCracken and Livingston Counties. Before that, people had to cross the river on the ferry between the two counties.
In July of 2013 the New Ledbetter Bridge was opened to traffic, providing not just two but four lanes, making the commute much easier.
The intent was to begin the removal of the bridge in a few weeks. The bridge however; seemed to have a mind of its own. Over the past several weeks the bridge has dropped a few inches a day until last Friday when it moves a foot overnight. Then another foot on Saturday.
Finally at 2:07am Sunday morning the pillars could no longer hold the massive weight and came tumbling down onto the bluff below taking sections of the roadway above with it. Heavy rainfall over the past couple of weeks has made the ground beneath the pillars unstable.
The New Ledbetter Bridge is in no danger of any problems caused by the old bridge collapse. Motorist crossing the new bridge can be assured that if there was any danger they would be notified. A thorough geographical study was done before the new bridge site was chosen.
K & K Construction Company and Hayden Bridge Builders will proceed with removal of the old bridge as planned. Officials are urging sightseers to stay away from the McCracken County side of the bridge and are ticketing those who do not heed their warnings. Police will be stationed near the bridge to keep people out of the area for their own safety as the bluff on the west side continues to shift.
Those wishing to see the collapsed bridge should go to the Livingston County side of the bridge along Delta Road that leads back to Livingston Point Elevator.