KYTC: Alternate plan approved for Old Ledbetter Bridge pier demo - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

KYTC: Alternate plan approved for Old Ledbetter Bridge pier demolition

PADUCAH, KY (KFVS) -

A contractor for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet got approval for an alternate demolition plan for the remaining in-water piers at the Old Ledbetter Bridge site.

The contractor plans to excavate the river bottom outside the navigation channel and knock over the top half of the piers so they will fall into the excavated areas, according to KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Mike McGregor.

“The natural silting process along the river bottom will then cover the piers, leaving them below the river bottom,” McGregor said.

When the last truss section over the Tennessee River main navigation channel was detonated Oct.1, the blast rocked over the piers that held it up. The contractor had planned to drill the piers, place explosives and bring them down with a controlled detonation. However, cracks left in the piers raised safety questions about the drilling process.

“We believe this new plan will provide appropriate safety for workers and accomplish our goal of removing the piers from the waterway,” McGregor said.

In a letter outlining the alternate plan, Mark Hutchins with C.J. Mahan Construction Company indicated excavations could be completed this week with plans to pull over one of the piers on Monday, Nov. 24, followed by the second pier on Nov. 25.

They said Nov. 26 is a backup date in case of an unexpected delay.

“With all of this work being in the back channels we will not impede navigation traffic,” Hutchins said. “Drilling of the lower sections will start after the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Hutchins noted that once the top of each pier is removed, a date will be set for using explosives to remove the bottom half.

KYTC engineers and the company worked closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies with jurisdiction over the project to gain approval for the alternate plan.

Meanwhile, the contractor has continued conventional demolition of the approach spans along the Livingston County end of the Old Ledbetter Bridge and on the McCracken County shoreline.

According to KYTC, all steel is down and the contractor is digging and pulling over the land-based piers.

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