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Gov. Beshear Announces Contract Award to Construct Lake Barkley Bridge

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear today announced the award of a contract to build a new bridge over Lake Barkley – the second of the much-anticipated twin Lake Bridges in the tourism-rich Jackson Purchase of western Kentucky.

The $128.3 million project, awarded by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to PCL Civil Construction, of Denver, will result in a modern, four-lane bridge to carry U.S. 68/KY 80 over Lake Barkley and serve as the eastern entrance to Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area.

"Replacement of the bridges over Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley has been a priority of my administration, and it’s a great pleasure to see the awarding of the culminating contract," Gov. Beshear said. "The importance of these bridges to the tourism industry of Western Kentucky cannot be overstated."

The new bridge will replace the venerable but narrow and obsolete Henry Lawrence Memorial Bridge at Canton, which was built in 1932 and long ago ceased to meet modern design standards. The bridge, at U.S. 68 mile point 8.56 in Trigg County, has two lanes, each 10 feet wide, with no shoulders. The new bridge, which features a basket handle arch design, will have four travel lanes, each 11 feet wide, plus 4-foot shoulders and a 10-foot pedestrian/bicycle path.

The larger Lake Bridges Project also includes replacement of the Eggners Ferry Bridge on Kentucky Lake – a near twin of the Henry Lawrence Memorial. Construction of the new Kentucky Lake bridge is already underway.

In the Lake Barkley area, the project will widen approximately 1.5 miles of U.S. 68/KY 80 from two lanes to four lanes from just west of Lake Barkley to just east of the lake. In the Kentucky Lake region, approximately two miles of U.S. 68/KY 80 is being widened from two lanes to four lanes from Aurora, in Marshall County on the western shore, to just east of Kentucky Lake, where the project will connect to the four-lane roadway that runs through Land Between The Lakes.

The Kentucky Lake project has two parts. Jim Smith Contracting, of Grand Rivers, was awarded a contract in 2014 to construct causeways and also a new bridge over a lagoon on the west side of Kentucky Lake, just north of U.S. 68/KY 80 and adjacent to the Kenlake State Resort Park campground. The lagoon bridge forms an approach to the main lake bridge.

Construction of the main bridge itself is being carried out under a separate contract awarded to Johnson Brothers Corp., of Fort Worth, Texas.

Once completed, the Lake Bridges Project will provide a continuous, four-lane route from Aurora to Cadiz, crossing both lakes and Land Between The Lakes. It will eventually be part of a four-lane corridor from Mayfield to Bowling Green.

The new Lake Barkley bridge is expected to be open to traffic by October 2017. The new Kentucky Lake bridge, for which ground was broken last fall, is expected to be ready for traffic in December 2015, with completion in 2016.

Additional information on the Lake Bridges project can be found at www.lakebridges.com

Photo by Murray Blake

This stoic heron is looking at more than just his own reflection. He is looking at the fish that will become his lunch.