MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - The contractor working to demolish the Old Ledbetter Bridge at Paducah is continuing to tear down and remove the remains of the bridge. .
A demolition crew worked on Monday to remove the final remnants of three west approach spans that collapsed due to land movement back in June, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. A track hoe mounted with a shear was cutting up remaining pieces of steel from the approaches on the McCracken County side of the Tennessee River. Another track hoe with a large jackhammer attached broke up two huge concrete piers that were brought down by the massive movement of land along the McCracken County shoreline.
The contractor hopes to have the site cleared by Dec. 1. However, when the last steel truss section over the Tennessee River main navigation channel was detonated on Oct. 1, the blast rocked over the piers that held it up, causing damage to the concrete structures. The contractor had planned to place a platform on the piers, drill them for placement of explosives, then bring them down with a series of controlled detonations. ‘But, cracks left in the piers raised safety questions about the drilling process.
KYTC engineers and the company are continuing to work on several options for removing the in-water piers, but it may be several weeks before a plan is fully developed and approved. Meanwhile, the contractor has continued conventional demolition of the approach spans.
The contractor is required to give the U.S. Coast Guard 15 days advance notice before demolition can start on the river-based piers.
The Old Ledbetter Bridge went into service in 1931. In January 2012 it had to be restricted to a 3-ton load limit. Completion of the new U.S. 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter was expedited and traffic flow moved to the new structure on July 31, 2013.