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Construction on new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge ahead of schedule

Equipment for drilling of support pilings for the main piers for the New U.S. 60 Cumberland...
Equipment for drilling of support pilings for the main piers for the New U.S. 60 Cumberland River "Smithland" Bridge can be seen in the lower center of this photo. Each of the eight pilings that make up the base for each pier is 80 ft. long and 8 ft. in diameter. KYTC District 1 engineers say the project continues to be well ahead of schedule.(Kentucky Transportation Cabinet)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 1:47 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Ky. (KFVS) - Construction on the new U.S. 60 bridge over the Cumberland River at Smithland is ahead of schedule.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Wednesday, July 21, the contractor started footers for the main piers for the new bridge. This step was postponed until after the spring flood season to reduce the likelihood of worksite flooding.

“These main piers are closest to the edge of the river,” Poat said. “While this work started about a month later than expected, the crew placing the pilings made up that lost time.”

The pilings are huge pipes driven into the ground to help create a deep foundation to support the bridge.

KYTC Project Manager Austin Hart said it’s hard to imagine their size until you see them up close.

“Also referred to as drilled shafts, these massive pipes are 80 ft. long and 8 ft. in diameter. They are essentially screwed into the ground,” Hart said. “Once they are in the ground, the soil inside is excavated out, a pre-assembled cage of reinforcing steel is lowered inside the piling, then it is poured full of concrete. It provides the base for the main piers.”

Hart said three of the eight shafts for the main pier on the Smithland side of the river are finished. Another three on the north side of the river have been started.

“When the eight shafts are completed on each side, the base of the main pier will sit directly on top of these structures,” Hart said. “Sometime in mid-August we expect to start construction of the main piers. They should emerge from the base we are constructing now and be visible above ground by sometime in September with completion of the main piers expected by the end of the year.”

KYTC said steel for the main truss is expected to arrive this summer.

The 700-foot main span will be built off-site, starting this fall, then floated to the construction site by barge and lifted into place in fall 2022.

The construction schedule calls for moving traffic to the new bridge in spring 2023.

A tentative construction schedule includes:

  • July-October 2021 - Cofferdam for Pier 4 Structural steel deliveries Begin offsite assembly of main truss Pier 4 footing, columns, web wall, cap Deck pour on north approach spans Start additional roadway work KY 70 Intersection
  • February 2022 - Span 3 and 5 beams
  • September 2022 - Main truss float-in on Span 4 Deck Concrete on Span 4
  • April-May 2023 - U.S. 60 highway connections tie-in Traffic moved to new bridge Demolition of old bridge
  • September-November 2023 - Final roadway surfacing Target completion date Dec. 1, 2023

The new bridge will have a 40-foot-wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 6-foot shoulders. KYTC said this will allow vehicles to share the bridge with most farm equipment.

It replaces a bridge built in 1931 known as the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial Bridge or Smithland Bridge.

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