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Prep Work starts for Replacement of the Last Timber Railroad Overpass in the Region

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PADUCAH, Ky. (May 19, 2020) --A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has started prep work on a project that will replace the last timber railroad overpass in the region. This week the contractor started construction of an access road and work area on Baltimore Road in Hickman County to prepare for construction of a new bridge.

The project will replace a 210 ft long, 50 ft. tall timber structure that was constructed by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1946. It is a classic example of timber stringer construction used on many railroad bridges of that time (See video and photos below).

At one time, dozens of the bridges carried county roads and state highways over railroad tracks in Western Kentucky. Over about the last 15 years they have been replaced with modern steel and concrete structures. The final timber structure on Baltimore Road with a 14.8 ft wide deck provides access to farmland west of what is now the Canadian National Railroad line that connects Metropolis, IL, and Fulton, KY.

The contractor has two long-reach track goes working at the site to clear brush and construct an access road and work area for placement of a cran to facilitate future demolition and construction activities at the site.

The aging timber bridge is located near the end of Baltimore Road about 1/3rd of a mile west of the Hickman-Graves County Line. Baltimore Road, which dead-ends in Hickman County just west of the bridge, only has access from Graves County via Baltimore Church Road. The overpass serves mostly farmland.

Once the pre-construction work is completed, sometime in Mid-July the contractor plans to close the roadway for up to 90 days to allow demolition of the existing timber bridge and construction of a new plate girder concrete bridge.

The contractor and KYTC engineers will provide advance notice of the specific closure date as it approaches.

Harold Coffey Construction Company, Inc., of Hickman is the prime contractor on this $1,676,892 bridge construction project. The target completion date for all work at the site is May 2, 2021.

This project is part of the Bridging Kentucky Program which seeks to improve the safety and reliability of transportation by rehabilitating, repairing, or replacing critical bridges across the Commonwealth. For more information on the program please visit www.bridgingkentucky.com.

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