Video: 700-Foot Truss Floated 14 Miles for New Kentucky Bridge

A 700-foot-long truss for a new bridge in Kentucky was floated 14 miles up the Ohio River to the Cumberland River and jacked up to its new home for a future U.S. 60 bridge at Smithland.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 video below shows the truss’ arrival:

The 5.1-million-pound truss left Paducah’s riverfront September 12 and arrived about 4 hours later at the construction site. From there it was slowly lifted into place onto four piers by four jacking towers, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Two of the four jacking towers were  removed September 15, and the flotilla that transported the truss was able to leave. That enabled boat traffic on the river to resume under the existing bridge. Road traffic has returned to normal on that bridge, as well.

American Bridge Company jacked the truss into place about 90 feet above the Cumberland River. Jim Smith Contracting will spend the next six months installing a concrete deck on the new structure. Traffic can start moving to the new bridge late next spring, and the project is expected to be completed by December 2023, according to KYTC. 

The KYTC District 1 video below shows the truss being lifted 45 feet between 6 a.m. and noon September 13, halfway to its final stop: 

Jim Smith is the prime contractor on the $63.8 million project. American Bridge assembled the truss using four “jumbo barges” before floating it from Paducah’s riverfront to its new home.

The new bridge will have a 40-foot-wide, two-lane deck with 12-foot driving lanes and 8-foot shoulders to allow clearance for farm equipment to cross without stopping oncoming traffic, KYTC says. The bridge will have no piers in the water, for improved boat traffic. It is immediately downstream from the existing bridge, which was built in 1931.

Kentucky bridge truss installed after floated on Cumberland RiverThe truss at its new home beside the 1931 span (right) it will replace for U.S. 60 at Smithland, Kentucky.Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1“The new bridge will improve a significant cross-country link for U.S. 60 through western Kentucky and a critical connection for local Livingston County traffic,” the agency says. “The Cumberland River splits the county, and the bridge is the only direct link for local commuters, commerce, school buses and emergency responders.”

The KYTC District 1 video below shows the truss being connected to piers September 14: