Governor Beshear unveils design for US 68 lakes bridges
Basket handle arch spans ‘will form a signature gateway to the Land Between the Lakes’
CADIZ, Ky. (July 14, 2009)Gov. Steve Beshear today unveiled the design of two bridges that will carry US 68/KY 80 across Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. The twin basket handle, tied-arch spans will be unique in Kentucky.
“There are no other bridges in Kentucky like this, just as there is no other place in Kentucky like the Land Between the Lakes,” Gov. Beshear said during a news conference and unveiling at Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
“I’m thrilled to present a design that makes a bold statement about western Kentucky and the Lakes region,” Gov. Beshear said.  “These impressive structures will form a signature gateway to the Land Between the Lakes and two essential components of a modernized ‘68/80’ corridor.”
The new bridges will replace a pair of narrow, steel bridges that were built in 1932 to span the mighty Cumberland and Tennessee rivers – years before the rivers were impounded to form the lakes and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
The tied-arch design for the new bridges offers a good balance of practicality, cost effectiveness and aesthetic appeal, according to design engineers. The new 550-foot, four-lane spans will include 11-foot lanes, 4-foot shoulders and an 8-foot sidewalk and bike path. The bridges will tie in with the reconstructed US 68/KY 80 corridor.
“We are extremely pleased with the basket handle design,” said David Graham, chairman of the Lakes Bridges Citizens Advisory Committee, which worked with the Transportation Cabinet as part of the bridge selection public involvement process. “We sought to choose a design that complements the natural appeal of the Land Between the Lakes, sets our region apart and adds distinction to the lakes region skyline. This design accomplishes those goals while keeping costs within reason.”
“Anyone who has traveled the existing bridges understands the practical necessity for the new structures,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Prather. “Our project team, with public input, has designed a perfect solution that fulfills the modern-day transportation needs of the region and also provides a unique conversation piece that will complement the region’s tourism industry.
Each bridge will cost an estimated $178 million to build, including design work. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011. The entire US 68 corridor reconstruction, including the bridges project, is expected to be complete by late 2017.
ARRA highway sign unveiled
Also today, Gov. Beshear unveiled a highway sign that identifies the repair of pavement on Interstate 24 as a project funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The project is being financed with $12.2 million in “stimulus” funding. It includes rehabilitation of east and westbound I-24 from mile marker 45 to mile marker 56 in Lyon and Caldwell counties.
The stimulus project – and others like it – creates or preserves good-paying highway construction jobs at a time when Kentucky Road Fund revenues are in steep decline, the Governor said.
"The Recovery Act has enabled us to move forward on projects that were ready for construction but might otherwise have been delayed for lack of funding," Gov. Beshear said. "The repair of I-24 might have been moved to the back burner. Instead, it's moving forward."