Ledbetter bridge struck by barges

(Filed January 7, 2013) Traffic was halted for about 15 minutes today after the Ledbetter Bridge, which is located on the Tennessee River on US Highway 60, was reported to have been struck by the motor vessel Gladys Ford that was pushing several barges upstream early this afternoon. According to information released by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet members of a construction crew working on the new Ledbetter Bridge reported the incident.

Several KYTC engineers were working near the bridge when the incident was reported, allowing inspectors to be on site within about 5 minutes to start checking the bridge structure for possible damage.  After an initial check of the existing Ledbetter Bridge, it was determined that traffic could continue to cross while inspectors took a more detailed look at the bridge structure.

The bridge was reported to be reopened to traffic within 15 minutes after the initial inspection was completed. Inspectors conducted a more thorough inspection under the bridge after traffic resumed on the structure.

The US Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit at Paducah is investigating the incident.  The tow boat was reported to be holding position about 1500 ft. up-steam from the new bridge.

The US 60 Tennessee River Bridge at Ledbetter has been restricted to a 3-ton load limit for the last year to help maintain safety of the 81 year old structure while work continues on a new bridge just upstream.