Traffic expected to move to new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge late April or early May
WESTERN Ky. (KFVS) - Construction of the new U.S. 60 Cumberland River Bridge at Smithland continues to be on schedule, with traffic expected to move to the new bridge sometime in late April or early May.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet engineers and contractor provided an updated work schedule for the project:
- U.S. 60 highway connections tie-in completed
- Final roadway surfacing and finish work
- Traffic moved to new bridge
- Demolition of old bridge
The target completion date for all work on the new bridge is Dec. 1, 2023.
According to KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat, the Cabinet and Smith Contracting had hoped to make the traffic move sooner. However, several factors will keep things on the original timeline.
“A crane that was to be used for demolition of the existing bridge is tied up on another project,” Poat said. “That pushed the demolition process for the old bridge into the timeline that ospreys will arrive at their nest on the old bridge and start laying eggs. That means we’ll now have to wait for the young ospreys to hatch and start flying – maybe sometime in June. If we can’t beat the ospreys, we have time to complete much more of the work on the new bridge before transferring traffic.”
According to KYTC, ospreys normally arrive on their nest atop the old bridge around March 15.
Poat anticipated all of the road work for the new bridge can now be finished before traffic is transferred to the new alignment, helping minimize or eliminate traffic disruptions later.
“The original plan called for the contractor to pave the final driving surface on the new roadway alignment after traffic moved to the new bridge. Keeping the traffic move on the original schedule will allow the final round of paving and other finish work to be completed more efficiently,” Poat said.
According to KYTC, holding off on the traffic move will also make time for diamond grinding to provide a smoother ride on the deck of the new bridge. KYTC engineers are also considering the addition of a granite traction coating to enhance the durability of decking on the new structure.
The new bridge will have a 40-foot wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 8-foot shoulders that will provide extra clearance for most farm equipment to cross without stopping oncoming traffic.
To help with river navigation on the Cumberland River, the new bridge will not have piers in the water during normal river conditions.
The existing 60 Cumberland River bridge at Smithland, also known as the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial Bridge and the Smithland Bridge, is at U.S. 60 Livingston County mile point 12.348.
According to KYTC, the 1,817-foot truss structure was opened to traffic in 1931.
About 5,100 vehicles cross the bridge in an average day.
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