PADUCAH – The U.S. Coast Guard will hear from both Foss Maritime and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet regarding the collapse of the Eggners Ferry Bridge. At the April hearing, both sides will present their cases and call witnesses.
The hearing is scheduled to take place April 16-22 at Paducah City Hall. It had originally been scheduled to be conducted at Kenlake State Resort Park.
Lt. Jamie Salinas, Chief of Investigations at Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River will preside over the hearing. Investigators will then make their determinations of fault in a Report of Investigation.
In February, legal counsel for Foss Maritime filed a lawsuit in federal court asking the company be exonerated from liability. Announcing a contract award for repairs to the bridge last month at Kenlake, Gov. Steve Beshear said he believed the state would have a strong case in recovering the cost of repairs from the owner of the M/V Delta Mariner.
Last week it was announced state workers had begun performing maintenance work on the remaining spans of the bridge to prepare for repair of the 322 foot span. Deck patching work was done primarily on the remaining truss spans and along the approach spans on the Trigg County end of the bridge. Work was expected to be completed this week.
In March, the state awarded a $7 million emergency contract to replace the missing span to Hall Contracting. The company has committed to restoring U.S. 68/KY 80 traffic on the bridge by Memorial Day weekend – a critical time for Western Kentucky’s lakes region, which depends heavily on summer tourism.
Engineers are currently finalizing the plans required for fabrication of steel for the new span. Hall Contracting plans to run a crew of about 40 around the clock to meet a May 27 deadline.
Plans to replace the Eggners Ferry Bridge and a companion bridge over nearby Lake Barkley with a basket-handle tied arch design are still in the pre-construction phase. The governor’s highway proposal as presented to the General Assembly provides a total of $330 million in construction funding for the two bridges.
About 2,600 vehicles normally crossed the Eggners Ferry Bridge in an average day.