KYTC Discusses Proposed Smithland Bridge Replacement
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is holding a public meeting to discuss replacing the US 60 Smithland Bridge.
KYTC conducted a scoping study in 2013 which found that the current bridge over the Cumberland River had a sufficiency rating of 32 points out of 100 due to narrow lane and shoulder width. An engineering appraisal also came back with the comment “intolerable – replace.”
Spokesman Keith Todd says the old bridge was built in the 1930s and is now considered ‘obsolete.’
"When that bridge first went into service, the largest passenger vehicle on the road was maybe a Model-A Ford and the largest truck maybe weighed 26 tons," said Todd. "We've gotten bigger since then, and while we have upgraded the decking over the years, the bridge was designed to last around 75 to 100 years. So we’re coming up very quickly on the end of the lifespan of that bridge.”
KYTC has proposed building an alternate bridge 100 ft. downstream costing approx. $40M, which would have two 12-foot wide driving lanes with 10-foot shoulders.
"Back in the 1920s when they first started all this work, the folks that were doing all this geological and engineering work really knew what they were doing because in many cases we find that either the subsoil or bedrock or there is some reason why that bridge is where it is," said Todd. "Which means very often we end up building a new bridge very close to the location of the existing bridge."
The existing Smithland Bridge will remain open while the new one is constructed.
Todd says the cabinet is still securing funds for construction but may begin initial roadwork to adapt US 60 to the new bridge design early next year with completion sometime in 2018.