Updated March 4, 2012 - by Shawn Dunnaway (some information provided by Keith Todd)
Eggners Ferry Bridge was completed on March 25, 1932. The bridge was named after a ferry that operated near the site.
According to Marshall County
historian Justin Lamb, who is an administrative assistant in the
County Judge-Executive’s office, the Eggners Ferry Bridge was
originally run by the Egner (one G) family who came to the area in
“During the War Between the States, Confederate Brig. General Lloyd Tilghman mentioned Eggners Ferry, using two G’s in a dispatch that warned of Union forces on their way to Murray,” Lamb explains. “General Tilghman spelled it with two G's and it stuck. The ferry was run by the Egner family well up into the 20th Century. One of member of the Egner family, Pete Egner, served as Sheriff of Marshall County from 1918-1922 and used his family connection to the ferry in his election campaign.”
Interestingly, a map of the area in our possession from 1885 does not show the Eggners Ferry, but rather shows Hillmans Ferry to the north and Williams Ferry to the south. Why the map-makers omitted it is unknown.
The bridge originally was a toll-bridge but those tolls were eliminated within just a few years. When Kentucky Lake was created in the early 1940s, two bridges including Eggners Ferry had to be raised. The state shut down the bridge on July 10, 1943 and begun the process of raising it 22 to 25 feet. A temporary ferry was established during this time.
The bridge opened back up in February 1944 just in time for the impounding of Kentucky Lake. In the photo of the ribbon cutting, many officials and dignitaries from Kentucky attended the event, including Governor Simeon Willis (seen cutting the ribbon).
Eggners Ferry Bridge served Marshall, Trigg, and Calloway counties for several decades. As the bridge began to age, and as it became obvious that traffic flow through the area was increasing, officials began planning a new modern bridge to replace it. After years of public meetings and planning, a new bridge design had been decided. Preliminary work on the new bridge began in 2011.
On Thursday, January 26, 2012, shortly after 8:00 p.m., the Delta Mariner hit a 322-foot span of the bridge causing it to collapse. Miraculously, no one was killed or injured in the accident. The 80-year-old bridge was shut down. Several options to deal with the loss of the bridge were brought forth, but as of the time of this writing nothing had been decided (follow the latest here).
Whatever becomes the fate of the bridge, it has served our region well for the past 80 years. Hopefully when the new bridge is constructed, consideration will be given to keep the name Eggners Ferry Bridge.