Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ledbetter bridge endures first tow strike

FA Kentucky Transportation Cabinet bridge inspector was dispatched to the US 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter around Midnight after the US Coast Guard reported a barge hit on the main pier of the structure.

According to the US Coast Guard Operations Center in Louisville, the Motor Vessel Tennessee Hunter was pushing 15 empty hopper barges when the captain reported strong currents caused by floodwaters pushed the tow into the single in-water pier around 11:30 p.m.

The pilot reported no significant damage to the barges and no immediately visible damage to the pier.

Traffic on the bridge was restricted to one lane for about 45 minutes to allow an inspector to access the deck above the main pier.  After running a safety check on the bridge structure and checking the in-water pier for signs of damage, the certified bridge inspector gave an all clear.  The inspector will be back on the bridge this morning to check the pier during daylight.

The motor cessel Tennessee Hunter has the distinction of being the first tow boat to strike the in-water pier on the New Ledbetter Bridge which opened to vehicle traffic at the end of July in 2013.

The US 60 Tennessee River Bridge connects McCracken County to Livingston County between Paducah and Ledbetter.  The bridge is at US 60 Livingston County mile point 0.0 and McCracken County mile point 20.634.

Approximately 8,000 vehicles cross the structure in an average day.